Other Reports

Building New Partnerships: The Freight Railroad Industry and Metropolitan Planning Organizations

  • 12
  • Oct
  • 1994
AUTHOR: National Association of Regional Councils
SUBJECT: Freight Operations
KEYWORDS: Metropolitan Planning Organizations, Case Study, Management Systems
ABSTRACT: [From the Introduction] In 1992, the Federal Railroad Administration awarded a contract to the National Association of Regional Councils (NARC) to investigate how to enhance the relationships between Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and the freight railroad industry. Recent federal legislation including the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA) and the Clean Air Act Amendments (CAAA) have numerous provisions that are changing how transportation plans, programs, and policies are developed and implemented in urbanized areas. These statutes open up the planning process and planners are building new partnerships in addressing them. In developing this contract, NARC and FRA recognized that, historically, the freight railroads generally have had little involvement in public sector transportation planning. But, with the passage of ISTEA, the level of participation from the freight community is increasing. The purpose of this document is to examine how the railroad industry is becoming more active in metropolitan planning and to provide practical examples for MPOs to follow in developing or revising strategies to bring the railroads to the table in establishing freight planning processes to improve decision making. This document has been organized in three major sections. Section 1 will provide an overview of ISTEA. Section 2 will address current state of practice concerning how MPOs and railroads have worked together since the passage of ISTEA. This section will discuss the results of a research assessment conducted by NARC, as a part of the contract, providing numerous examples of MPO/freight railroad interaction in planning activities. Section 3 will provide detailed case studies that provide more in-depth information about how to involve the freight industry in metropolitan transportation planning. The Appendix includes a table presenting the results of NARC’s nationwide survey of MPOs and their freight planning efforts.