Information Exchange: Publications

Towards a 21 st Century agenda of freight transportation

Author: José Holguín-Veras, Ph.D., P.E.

"Since the advent of analytical transportation planning in the 1950s, the evolving transportation modeling paradigms have focused on the analysis of passenger transportation, while paying relatively little or no attention to freight. This is a consequence of the fact that passenger issues have traditionally been perceived as having the highest priority, relegating freight to the lower echelons of the totem pole of priorities and effectively reducing the amount of resources allocated to freight transportation research and education. Generations of transportation planners have been trained, and provided with the tools, to deal with passenger transportation. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about freight transportation.


A constellation of factors are increasing the already important role played by the freight transportation system in the vitality of the Nation's economy. Economic globalization, Just-In-Time production systems and electronic commerce (e-commerce) deserve specific mention. In a context of increasing economic globalization, and in the interest of minimizing the total costs of producing and delivering goods, production systems are reaching out to global markets of supply and demand. The net effect of economic globalization is to extend the geographic realm of the freight transportation systems. Once confined by national boundaries, the transportation systems of today and tomorrow will have to operate across multiple nations at a global scale."

Date Created: October 2001; Date Posted: March 2002






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