U.S. freight investment efficiency of waterways and highways
Kersh, Erin Leigh
The research described herein was performed in an effort to determine how federal transportation expenditures benefit the freight industry. This study focused on two objectives: 1) determining relevant federal investments on highway and waterway freight modes and 2) calculating investment efficiency for each of these modes. On this basis, the efficiency of each mode in terms of tons of freight moved per dollar of investment can be compared. This was accomplished using data collected from multiple transportation agencies and federal sources based on the availability of the most recent information. While it was determined that federal freight investment in waterways is more efficient than for highways, there are more factors to consider. This effort demonstrates the challenge of collecting and analyzing investment and performance data and highlights the ancillary benefits of investment in each transportation mode that must be considered in future investment decisions.