The Value of Freight

Freight Modes

Land Use Conflicts


"...if you wear it, eat it, drink it, drive it, or talk or text on it, it came by freight..."

—Les Findeisen, Legislative Affairs Director for the Texas Trucking Association

A smoothly functioning freight transportation network is essential to the operation of the U.S. economy. Efficient freight transportation is a very important part of producing and getting products to consumers. On average, 42 tons of freight worth $39,000 was delivered to every man, woman, and child in the United States in 2007. When considering the distance involved in transporting this freight, an average of 11,000 ton-miles was delivered to every person in the country.

U.S. economic and population growth creates increasing competition for the land resources underlying the freight transportation infrastructure. Amidst such competition, a key to preserving freight transportation facilities and corridors is to prevent or resolve conflicts between freight operations and other land uses. Some conflicts are more obvious, such as bridge interference with the vertical clearance of railroad corridors or other shipping lanes. Other conflicts may not be as apparent, such as noise, vibration or environmental effects caused by freight activities.

As the table below indicates, from the perspective of the community at large, these conflicts generally lead to nuisance, safety, or health concerns. From the perspective of freight interests, these conflicts can create barriers to efficient transportation that diminish economic performance.

Community Concerns Include:

Freight Concerns Include:

  • Light pollution
  • Noise and vibration effects
  • Air and water quality
  • Safety
  • Traffic Congestion
  • Higher production and distribution costs
  • Speed restrictions
  • Hours of operation restrictions
  • Clearance and weight limitations
  • Corridor design constraints

This website is intended to:

  • Provide information about freight transportation and its importance to people's everyday lives
  • Illustrate types of conflicts between freight and other land uses and their consequences
  • Provide tools and resources to prevent or resolve these conflicts


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This software is offered as is, without warranty or promise of support of any kind either expressed or implied. Under no circumstance will the National Academy of Sciences or the Transportation Research Board (collectively "TRB") be liable for any loss or damage caused by the installation or operation of this product. TRB makes no representation or warranty of any kind, expressed or implied, in fact or in law, including without limitation, the warranty of merchantability or the warranty of fitness for a particular purpose, and shall not in any case be liable for any consequential or special damages.