As available data has increased and as the national transportation funding bills have moved toward objective evaluation, departments of transportation (DOTs) throughout the country have begun to develop tools to measure the impacts of different projects. Increasingly, DOTs recognize the freight transportation system is necessarily multimodal. However, few DOTs have clearly stated objective tools to make multimodal freight project comparisons. This report informs that gap by summarizing the existing academic literature on the state of the science for freight project impact estimation and reviewing methods currently used by select DOTs nationwide. These methods are analyzed to identify common themes and determine potential avenues for multimodal project evaluation. Most methods either take the form of benefit-cost analysis or a scorecard approach. Examples of each were reviewed in-depth and patterns evaluated. While most tools use similar measures, the supporting metrics vary widely and are not applicable to all modes.
Goodchild, Anne, Erica Wygonik, B. Starr McMullen, and Daniel Holder. Multimodal freight project prioritization. No. FHWA-OR-RD-14-11. Oregon Dept. of Transportation, Research Section, 2014.