Executive Summary

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates domestic freight volumes to grow by more than 65 percent, increasing from 13.5 billion tons in 1998 to 22.5 billion tons in 2020. According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the volumes of goods shipped by trucks and railroads are projected to increase by 98 percent and 88 percent, respectively, by 2035. To better support policies related to goods movement and its impacts, many states have started adopting statewide freight forecasting models, including Oregon, Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin, among others.

However, California has yet to develop such a model despite being the leading freight destination by value in the U.S. It is also home to the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles in the San Pedro Bay, the largest container port in the U.S. and the fifth largest in the world. At the same time, California is the world’s 12th largest source of carbon dioxide.

In this completed study, the objective was to gather all the necessary data and information, reach out to the appropriate stakeholders, and recommend a framework for implementation of a statewide freight forecasting model for California. The project deliverables include:

1. Summary of stakeholder needs;
2. Industry review;
3. Literature review;
4. Initial design(s) for the freight forecasting model;
5. An evaluation of the data sets that are needed for acquisition or purchase;
6. Technological evaluations including software platform selection and integration assessment;
7. A proposal for implementing a statewide freight forecasting model for Caltrans.