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The movement of goods is and always has been critical to the availability of the necessities of life and economic activity in the Boston region. Reflecting that need, planning for the policies and infrastructure that enable the movement of freight and goods by road, rail, water, and air is a mandatory part of the federal 3C (continuing, comprehensive, and cooperative) planning process. Freight planning at the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is concerned with freight movement between metropolitan areas and, increasingly, with regional and local distribution of goods and packages (first- and last-mile delivery). Freight planning frequently includes investigation, analysis, and classification of truck movement, including commercial and service vehicles.
Since federal fiscal year (FFY) 2014, the MPO’s freight planning has focused on the following goals:
- Complement multimodal freight planning and address issues identified by the MPO’s Long-Range Transportation Plan and other MPO planning efforts.
- Complement freight planning by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and other operating agencies, including the Massachusetts Port Authority, that influence freight movement in the Boston region.
- Identify and study freight-specific issues in an ongoing manner as resources permit.
- Fulfill analysis requirements mandated by current federal transportation funding authorizations.
- Support the study of freight issues and mandated analysis requirements with the acquisition, collection, and utilization of freight data on a systematic and ongoing basis and improve existing analytical tools for estimation and prediction.
The MPO’s freight planning activities are guided by the 2013 Freight Planning Action Plan and its 2019 update. We plan the following activities for FFY 2023:
- Present the latest MPO freight research memorandum, Scan of Integrating Transit and Truck Priority.
- Consider preparation of a new Freight Planning Action Plan or a regional Freight Plan.
- Prepare for and execute freight-related analyses for the upcoming Long-Range Transportation Plan, Destination 2050.
- Build and maintain relationships with and interview regional stakeholders about freight needs.
- Prepare an MPO freight data portal and mapping application.
- Monitor the implications of the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the accompanying surface transportation bill reauthorization and determine how it might provide opportunities to enhance the MPO’s freight-related activities.
- Support updates to the truck module of the MPO’s travel demand model.
- Seek opportunities to study freight movement in and around the Boston region.
- Assist with the FFY 2023 UPWP study Sustainability and Decarbonization in the Freight and Logistics Sector in the North Suffolk Area.
Freight Studies and Other Resources
- Scan of Integrating Transit and Truck Priority
- Hazardous Cargoes on Core Area Roadways
- Trucks at the Southampton Street Bottleneck
- Review of Critical Urban Freight Corridors: Crossing Mystic River
- Boston Region MPO Freight Planning Action Plan Update
- Intermodal Warehouses in Massachusetts
- Weight and Height Restrictions that Impact Truck Travel
- Designation of Critical Urban Freight Corridors (PDF)
- Trucks in the South Boston Waterfront
- Rest Locations for Long-Distance Truck Drivers in Massachusetts
- Improving Truck Travel in the Everett-Chelsea Industrial Area
- MassDOT Freight Plan (upcoming)
- From App to Table: Rapid Food Deliveries in Massachusetts (MAPC)
- Hidden and in Plain Sight: Impacts of E-Commerce in Massachusetts (MAPC)
- Economic Impact of the Port of Boston (Massport)
Resources and Links
- Mapping Major Transportation Infrastructure Milestones Interactive App
- MPO Congestion Management Process
- What the Truck? with Bill Kuttner
- FHWA Office of Freight Management & Operations
- FHWA Freight Planning Page
- FAST Act Freight Provisions Fact Sheet
- Massachusetts State Freight Plan (2017)
- Massachusetts State Rail Plan (2018)
- Eastern Transportation Coalition
Jonathan Church, Manager of MPO Activities