FHWA launches new freight congestion mapping tool

May 27, 2010
The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is rolling out a new Internet-based system designed to help states, highway planners, and shippers pinpoint “choke points” along 25 top U.S. interstate highways that are considered significant freight routes

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is rolling out a new Internet-based system designed to help states, highway planners, and shippers pinpoint “choke points” along 25 top U.S. interstate highways that are considered significant freight routes.

The agency’s hope is that its new Freight Performance Measures web-based tool, dubbed “FPMweb,” will help re-route freight volumes or shift shipments to less congested travel times, Nancy Singer with the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) office of public affairs, told FleetOwner.

“This tool will allow a variety of parties – from state planners to shippers – to look at entire freight corridors and make better travel decisions,” she said. Among the 25 interstates covered by FPMweb are I-5 in California and I-95 along the eastern seaboard.

Developed through a multi-year FHWA research initiative with the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), FPMweb is reportedly a “first of its kind” effort to capture information on truck travel speeds from around the country via global position system (GPS) data transmitted and satellite technology.

Low speed data gathered by the system reflects congestion levels at a particular location and time of day on the major highways monitored by the system, FHWA noted.

State and local transportation agencies can use the information to prioritize their highway investments to target critical congestion needs, while at the same time, businesses and freight companies can use it to more strategically time and choose their routes to avoid congested areas, said Victor Mendez, FHWA’s administrator.

“It’s all about using innovative technology to save time and money and to boost commerce and the economy,” he noted. “Timely and accurate information on freight movement will benefit both government and the private sector in making transportation decisions.”

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