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Freight and Trade Impact Analysis

What is it? What is new? What does this mean for existing users?


freight tradeWhat is it?   Freight Analysis calculates changes in the volume and type of freight moving into, out of and within a given region that will occur because of a project or program’s impact on the economy. It translates changes in a region’s economic growth (which is represented in dollar terms) into freight tonnage flows, and changes in volume of trucks and containers. These results are shown by commodity being shipped, and by mode (air, marine, truck, rail). They are also shown by origin and destination pairing – at the level of counties within the US, and nations outside the US.

The Freight and Trade module is an optional element of TREDIS that enables regional and state agencies to see how an evolving baseline scenario and alternative project scenarios will lead to changes in incoming and outgoing freight movements. It leverages business growth analysis contained in the EIA module, and applies it to highly detailed data on spatial supply/demand patterns of freight flows to portray expected shifts in future patterns of freight movements. Results can be viewed in terms of trade flow maps and in terms of a supply chain system that traces the movement of goods as they progress through a region or state’s resource, manufacturing, wholesale and retail sectors. The results provide economic developers with insight into sources of trade inflows and outflows, and it provides transportation planners with insight into the freight modes, intermodal facilities and spatial flow patterns that will be most significantly affected as a consequence of proposed projects.

TREDIS offers two options for Freight Analysis. The standard system utilizes the detailed vFreight™ database to assess changes in freight flow patterns at a county level. The second option, “TREDIS Fueled by TRANSEARCH,” provides further detail on the commodity mix, mode and origin-destination pattern of individual highway and rail corridors within a state. This makes it possible to show how impacts vary among specific corridors.

What is new?   TREDIS 5 introduces a major upgrade to Freight and Trade impact calculation and reporting, with new scenario impact reports, which is now offered as an optional module. While the core TREDIS modules show economic impacts in terms of dollar flows, new Freight reports now show more detail regarding how that translates into changes in the generation of incoming demand and outgoing shipments, as well as internal local movements. These reports can be viewed for specific counties within a state or region, and optionally in terms of individual corridors. Results are shown in terms of dollars, tons and vehicles, and for various combinations of mode, commodity and origin-destination pair.

All results are shown via enhanced graphical maps and charts. Besides offering a choice of visualization approaches, using either maps or supply chain schematics, the tabular reports have been expanded and simplified. Users now start with high level summary graphs and tables, and they can then click on individual rows to “drill down” and see further details within any given year, in terms of modes, commodities and freight flow patterns.

What does this mean for existing TREDIS users?   The expanded Freight and Trade reports are dependent on the basic economic impact module results, and hence will change with them. There have been significant upgrades in accuracy of international trade data, and in the characterization of surface shipments to coastal areas where the freight is then transferred to overseas shipments. However, users should not see any major upward or downward shift in overall results.

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