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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Managing the Impacts of Freight in California


With annual gross domestic product (GDP) of more than 2.4 trillion dollars, the State of California plays a major role in the nation’s economic growth and international trade. It is the largest state economy in the US and accounts for about 14% of US GDP. Tons of goods are moved into California every day through its busy seaports, airports and borders. Some of these goods are consumed locally, while others are processed and transshipped to other states and countries. To ensure the efficiency and reliability of freight movement, California has invested a great deal in building and maintaining its freight infrastructure, but these investments are far outpaced by the rapid growth in both passenger and freight demand. The result is increasing congestion, especially at bottlenecks where congestion and delays are severe. This research was motivated by new provisions in the 2016 Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which require states to consider the impact of significant congestion or delays caused by the freight industry. Specifically, the FAST Act requires, “Consideration of any significant congestion or delay caused by freight movements and any strategies to mitigate that congestion or delay” (Federal Register, 81(199), 10/14/16, 71185). The purpose of this research is to generate recommendations on the most effective strategies for reducing freight related congestion and its impacts. These recommendations will be considered for inclusion in the California Freight Mobility Plan (CFMP) 2019 version to comply with FAST Act requirements.

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