Jacksonville is a major gateway for highway freight with nearly all of Florida’s rail freight entering and leaving through the region. To integrate freight planning into the region’s Long-Range Transportation Planning process, the North Florida Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) partnered with RS&H to conduct a Freight Mobility Study. The study was completed in two phases and recognizes the strategic importance of intermodal freight transportation to the Northeast Florida economy.
In the first phase of the study, RS&H identified freight generators, shippers, and stakeholders and mapped the location of the region’s freight facilities using geographic information systems (GIS). We developed and implemented an electronic survey to collect information from various sources and also conducted one-on-one interviews to identify the stakeholders’ transportation needs, operational concerns, and improvements. RS&H found that the implementation of short-range improvements consistent with the one- to two-year business cycle would give the stakeholders a competitive edge over businesses in other regions.
To seize potential opportunities, the North Florida TPO formed a committee of business, industry, and government (BIG) stakeholders to guide the second phase of the study. The BIG committee represented the nation’s first standing committee of a TPO that focused on freight movement and economic development. Working closely with the committee, RS&H identified the short-, medium-, and long-term improvements to the region’s highway, rail, airport, and seaport transportation infrastructure. Our recommendations included the implementation of specific, low-cost projects that will ultimately reduce truck travel times and provide an immediate benefit for regional freight transportation.
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