The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

The Future of Intermodal Freight Transport

Operations, Design and Policy

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Edited by Rob Konings, Hugo Priemus and Peter Nijkamp

This book explores the great challenge of increasing the scope of intermodal freight transport. In view of the current dominant role of road transport and the increasing difficulties in coping with a growing number of vehicles in an efficient and sustainable way, intermodal freight transport could be considered a viable alternative. However, the book makes recognition of the fact that there is still a need to improve the performance of the intermodal transport system.

Chapter 15: The Role of Government in Fostering Intermodal Transport Innovations Perceived Lessons Obstacles in the United States

José Holguín-Veras, Robert Paaswell and Anthony Perl

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


15. The role of government in fostering intermodal transport innovations: perceived lessons and obstacles in the United States José Holguín-Veras, Robert Paaswell and Anthony Perl 15.1 INTRODUCTION Freight transportation systems all over the world make significant contributions to the world, regional and local economies. The importance of these contributions is clearly evident in the American case, which provides a good example of the economic importance of freight. In 1997, business and industry transported cargo worth $6.9 trillion and weighing 11 billion tons. This caused 2.7 trillion ton-miles of goods to be transported across the continental United States (USDOT 1999a). Truck transportation accounts for 71.7 per cent of the value of cargo transported and 69.4 per cent of its tonnage (ibid.). At the personal level, Americans spend more on transportation, freight movement and commuting, than they do on clothing, operating the household, recreation and intercity travel put together. Transportation costs account for 11 per cent of disposable income, the fourth largest item in family budgets (USDOT 1999b). Using 1994 gross national product numbers, freight transportation made up 6.3 per cent of total expenditure, which could go up to 10–11 per cent of total expenditure if revenues spent on inventory, warehousing, and logistics services are included (ENO 1998). As a percentage of total expenditure, freight transportation represents 38.52 per cent of the total, while passenger transportation accounts for the rest (USDOT 1999b). The impact of freight on the US economy is considerable. Overall, it is estimated that one out...

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