USDOT Releases National Freight Plan


For the first time in American history, the U.S. Department of Transportation has released a National Freight Strategic Plan regarding long-term investments in infrastructure, the workforce and other essential parts of the freight system.

The NFSP is the latest effort made by the Department and the Trump administration to strengthen the nation’s economic competitiveness. The NFSP was published on Sept. 3.

“The Department is unveiling the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan so that the U.S. can maintain our competitive edge across major industries like agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and E-commerce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the time of the plan’s release.

About the Plan

According to the USDOT, America’s transportation network moves more than 51 million tons of freight and energy projects—valued at nearly $52 billion via highways, railways, ports and inland waterways, pipelines, and airports—every day. These numbers are only increasing due to e-commerce and a variety of global supply chains, potentially threatening the nation’s competitive advantage.

To improve the safety, security and resilience of the national freight system, the USDOT has published the NFSP, detailing the Department’s vision and goals on how freight infrastructure and operations can be modernized and improved.

The USDOT strategic goals include:

  • Safety: Improve the safety, security, and resilience of the national freight system;
  • Infrastructure: Modernize freight infrastructure and operations to grow the economy, increase competitiveness, and improve quality of life; and
  • Innovation: Prepare for the future by supporting the development of data, technologies, and workforce capabilities that improve freight system performance.

The plan arrives as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act recently established a new National Multimodal Freight Policy, requiring the development of the NFSP and a National Multimodal Freight Network.

Through a multi-agency effort involving extensive consultation with freight stakeholders in both the public and private sectors, the NFSP was developed. In the wake of its publication, the plan will serve as a guide for national freight policy, programs, initiatives and investments, in addition to informing state freight plans and identifying freight data and research needs.

The NFSP is also intended to be used as a framework for increased cross-sector, multijurisdictional and multimodal coordination and partnerships.

From a federal standpoint, the document outlines the following principles to guide the Department’s strategic leadership to support safe, efficient and reliable goods movement:

  • Modernize or eliminate unnecessary or duplicative regulations that inhibit supply chain efficiency, reduce incentives to innovation, delay project delivery, or raise costs to shippers and consumers, while protecting safety and environmental outcomes;
  • Improve cross-sector, multijurisdictional, and multimodal collaboration to enhance intermodal connectivity and first-and last-mile connections, streamline interstate policies and regulations and support multi-state investment;
  • Provide targeted Federal resources and financial assistance to support freight projects that provide significant benefits to the national economy; and
  • Invest in freight data, analytical tools, and research to enhance the abilities of State, regional and local agencies to evaluate and address freight issues.

A full report on the USDOT National Freight Strategic Plan can be viewed, here.


Tagged categories: Department of Transportation (DOT); Government; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Transportation

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