Freight Planning

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NOACA's Multimodal Regional Freight Plan


NOACA has developed a Multimodal Regional Freight Plan to facilitate goods movement in Northeast Ohio. Trucking will always play a crucial role, however, the U.S. Department of Transportation in its Beyond Traffic report recognizes that the system has significant challenges and that intermodal shipping is projected to be one of the fastest growing sectors. Businesses have different time and cost sensitivities, so supporting all modes of shipping provides the most possible options to meet their needs.

About Current Freight Movement in Northeast Ohio: 

  • Trucking accounts for nearly 80 percent of goods movement in Northeast Ohio.
  • Trucking accounts for 77 percent of greenhouse gas emissions nationally.
  • Road damage increases exponentially with vehicle weight, so heavy trucks cause a disproportionate amount of pavement damage.
  • Heavy trucks emit more than 15 times as many nitrous oxides as passenger vehicles.
  • A 2015 Congressional Budget Office report states that shipping via truck would cost $2.62-$5.86 more per ton-mile if external costs imposed on society were included in shipping cost.
  • A 2011 Government Accountability Office report states that external costs for trucking are at least six times greater than rail and nine times greater than waterways.
  • Large trucks are less likely to be involved in crashes, but more likely to cause fatalities.
  • Increased globalization results in more international shipping, requiring robust water and airport facilities.
  • A 2015 Brookings report measured the average commuting distance (7.8 miles in NEO), then looked at the number of jobs accessible within that distance.  Cleveland came in last, which basically means the area has very few job or population centers; both are widely dispersed. If people and jobs are spread-out, vehicle miles traveled for heavy trucks also increases.
About the Future of Freight in Northeast Ohio:

  • Between 2015 & 2045, freight volume in NEO is expected to increase from 300 to over 450 million tons. 
  • The current roadway system is not equipped to handle the additional trucks that will be needed. 
  • Money isn’t available for high-cost capacity expansions.
  • Necessary right-of-way to add additional lanes would require demolishing homes and businesses or farms and forests.
  • Even if funding & land were no obstacles, so many additional trucks will lead to increased congestion, causing shipping delays that hurt businesses, making it harder for them to grow & create jobs.  
  • This congestion, along with air pollution, road damage and safety concerns, negatively impact communities, making it harder for them to keep and attract residents.
What is NOACA Doing to Help? 

  • NOACA has developed a Freight Plan to benefit the Northeast Ohio region. 
  • NOACA is engaging stakeholders from the freight community – including truckers, shippers, ports, advocacy groups and more – to gather opinions on needs and wants. 
  • NOACA will advocate that funding at all levels and sources should prioritize maintenance and allow for flexibility on a wide variety of projects. Businesses have different time and cost sensitivities, so supporting all modes of shipping provides the most possible options.   
  • NOACA will prioritize projects along heavily traveled and congested freight routes and direct funding in a way that facilitates growth in the industries that will employ more of the region’s residents. 
  • NOACA will encourage local communities to support projects that make all modes of freight movement viable
How Does Freight Planning Support Regional Goals? 

  • STRENGTHEN Regional Cohesion: Freight flows into, out of and through all political jurisdictions, meaning communities must work together to ensure the efficient movement of goods.  
  • PRESERVE Existing Infrastructure: A 2011 freight stakeholder survey administered by NOACA rated poor roadway conditions as a top concern for the ability to efficiently move goods.  Further, the heavy weight of tractor-trailers causes a disproportionate amount of road damage.
  • BUILD a Sustainable Multimodal Transportation System: Different businesses have different shipping needs, so it is important that the region have access to all forms of goods movement. Additionally, safety, security and resilience call for different modes of shipping to be readily available to ensure efficient movement in the face of disaster.
  • SUPPORT Economic Development: A robust system allows businesses to easily receive materials and deliver finished products and enables consumers to have easy access to these products.
  • ENHANCE Quality of Life: Moving freight, mainly by truck, creates high amounts of pollutants. Reducing pollutants creates healthier communities.

Questions?/Comments? Contact us by email or by phone at (216) 241-2414.  Click the link for additional Freight Planning Publications and Studies.

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