ACOG Regional Freight Mobility Plan
CLIENT: Appalachian Council of Governments
Purpose of Project
The Appalachian Regional Freight Mobility Plan led by the Appalachian Council of Governments (ACOG), included a study area covering 7 counties, 43 municipalities, and 3 metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) in South Carolina. The need for a comprehensive strategy to address goods movement in this region resulted from significant growth in both population and industry that put pressure on existing infrastructure. The Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin Metropolitan Area boasts the largest Metropolitan Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the state and is ranked #67 among all metropolitan areas in the United States (Bureau of Economic Analysis).
The Freight Plan is an important product that ties together findings from a series of significant regional studies and projects over the past decade. It is expected that the Freight Plan will guide project partners and stakeholders (public and private) in the development of a staged, priority-driven technical process to address future regional freight (primarily truck and rail) processes, policies and investments.
The key objectives of the Freight Plan were:
Collect system freight data, across modes, that support an ongoing regional freight-planning function
Create a framework of analysis for freight performance measures and the identification of freight-specific issues on the transportation network to inform a set of strategic recommendations
Develop a framework for incorporating Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) efforts and emerging technologies into freight planning, modeling, and prioritization processes
Guide the prioritization and implementation of future investments, policies, and strategies in the short-, mid-, and long-term that improve the safety, security, mobility, operations and reliability of the freight transportation system and support the economic development goals of the region
Our Role on the Project
As part of a team, Modern Mobility Partners (MMP) lead the best practices, performance measures, and project prioritization tasks to identify the projects best suited for addressing the freight issues identified through this robust study.
MMP led a thorough review of nation-wide best practices in new and emerging freight technologies, such as smart truck parking, truck platooning, freight signal priority, and dynamic messaging systems programs, that could be utilized within the ACOG region.
Additionally, MMP reviewed regional, state, and national freight plans to determine which performance measures were most applicable to the ACOG region based on the staff and stakeholders freight needs determined through surveys and workshops.
MMP also worked with the project team to identify appropriate projects for the identified existing freight needs, and once developed, created a project prioritization spreadsheet tool to rank the identified projects according to the agreed upon metrics. These metrics incorporated reliability, safety, economic and environmental measures for evaluation.
Unique challenges of this plan included developing the recommended project list and crafting new economic performance measures that included truck and rail freight. Our solutions of developing a layered analysis that incorporated freight bottlenecks, level of service, freight-related land uses, and safety data enabled MMP to identify locations and project types that could benefit the ACOG region.
Additionally, with a thorough review of freight best practices in performance measures, we developed performance measures for the ACOG region highlighting safety, reliability, and environmental impacts. The performance measures were shaped with metrics that enabled them to cover both truck and rail freight, an important aspect for the ACOG region. Finally, several economic performance measures were incorporated to determine the projects economic ROI for the region.