On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) made history by debuting a national plan to improve the nation’s freight transportation system.
The National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), which was unveiled on September 3, is intended to boost the U.S. economy by streamlining the national multimodal freight system by investing in infrastructure, the workforce, and cutting regulations.
“The Department is unveiling the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan so that the U.S. can maintain our competitive edge across major industries like agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and E-commerce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
The four main goals of DOT’s NFSP are listed below.
- Modernize or eliminate unnecessary or duplicative regulations that inhibit supply chain efficiency, reduce incentives to innovation, delay project delivery, or raise costs to shippers and consumers, while protecting safety and environmental outcomes.
- Improve cross-sector, multijurisdictional, and multimodal collaboration to enhance intermodal connectivity and first- and last-mile connections, streamline interstate policies and regulations, and support multi-state investment.
- Provide targeted Federal resources and financial assistance to support freight projects that provide significant benefits to the national economy.
- Invest in freight data, analytical tools, and research to enhance the abilities of State, regional, and local agencies to evaluate and address freight issues.
The plan cites several areas of concern for the efficiency of the trucking industry specifically. These include the rising number of truck-involved fatal crashes, the lack of safe truck parking, increasing traffic congestion, automated driving technology, and poor infrastructure.
DOT also cites regulations as a barrier to maximizing freight efficiency: “…freight stakeholders frequently cite certain safety, environmental, and economic regulations as impediments to freight efficiency. There are often different perspectives as to whether these regulations are the best way to reach their intended goals or whether the costs associated with complying with a particular regulation exceed the benefits.”
The plan points to several trends that are driving the need for change to the nation’s supply chain, including increasing e-commerce, a growing population and economy, rising domestic oil production, new technologies, and an evolving workforce.
An overview of the key goals for the NFSP are outlined in the table below.
To learn more about the NFSP, please click here.