In order to improve the flow of freight in and through Hampton Roads, the HRTPO has done—and is doing—the following:
Freight Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC)
In 2009, the HRTPO Board established the Freight Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) to “advise the TPO Board on regional freight transportation requirements.”
For bylaws, meeting calendar, meeting archives, resolutions, mission, and members click
The highlights of FTAC activity include:
- Co-sponsoring the Virginia Freight Transportation Summit in 2011.
- Initiating a study to determine the level of truck tolls at which a highway toll project becomes counterproductive in attracting/retaining freight-related businesses in Hampton Roads (underway).
- Producing “A Region United” video (see below).
Note also that HRTPO staff serves on the Virginia Freight Transportation Technical Committee (VFTTC) which oversees the development of the Virginia Multimodal Freight Plan.
Identifying and Testing Projects for Improving Freight Movement
The HRTPO conducted “corridor studies” along routes with high truck volumes. In these studies HRTPO staff forecasted traffic, analyzed intersections, and recommended improvements to address congestion:
- Holland Road [US 58] Corridor Study, 2008
- Pruden Boulevard [US 460] Corridor Study, 2010
- US Route 460 Corridor Study [in Isle of Wight], 2011
In addition, HRTPO staff conducted a regional freight study that included the enumeration of delays currently experienced by trucks, and a recommendation for addressing those delays—“that the HRTPO Board consider including the widening of I-64 in Chesapeake in [the] next Long Range Transportation Plan.”:
The Existing and Future Truck Delay in Hampton Roads, 2013 report builds on the analysis of existing truck volumes and delays contained in the Hampton Roads Regional Freight Study (2012) by forecasting truck volumes and delays in Hampton Roads. It uses the new truck component and time-of-day capability of the regional travel demand model to forecast truck volumes and congestion to be faced by trucks in the next 20 years. This is the first time that HRTPO staff has forecasted future truck traffic or truck delays. This analysis shows future roadway segments with the highest total weekday truck delays.
Addressing the Impact of Freight Movement on Auto Travel
The HRTPO examined the highway/rail crossings in Suffolk. In this study, HRTPO staff forecasted delays to autos and provided possible solutions:
The HRTPO also examined the impact on regional highway congestion of building an “inland port” on the edge of Hampton Roads where freight carried by rail to/from the port could change modes to/from trucks:
Promoting and Funding Projects that Improve Freight Movement
In 2010, the HRTPO (with funding from VDOT) developed a Prioritization Tool to score the desirability of candidate projects. It uses the tool to select projects for the Long-Range Transportation Plan (a requirement for the construction of regionally-significant projects), and plans to use the tool to select projects to be funded through the new Hampton Roads Transportation Fund (HRTF). The Prioritization Tool reflects freight needs as follows:
- Points are awarded to a candidate highway or highway interchange project if it “increases access to port facilities”.
- Points are awarded to a candidate intermodal project if it “increases access to the port”, “improves freight movement by rail”, or has a positive “impact on truck movement”.
- Points are awarded to a candidate bridge or tunnel project if it “increases access to port facilities”.
HRTPO staff also conducted a study identifying a base network of highways within Hampton Roads that are anticipated to be part of the National Freight Network – to be established as part of MAP-21 requirements. It addressed several required elements of the National Freight Strategic Plan [the Hampton Roads portion] where data is available (condition and performance, freight bottlenecks on highways, forecasted truck volumes, major trade gateways) in order to strategically position the State of Virginia and the Hampton Roads region for future freight infrastructure funding initiatives.
Monitoring Freight Movement
Finally, HRTPO monitors freight movement to determine if its improving. The HRTPO’s Regional Performance Measures monitor the share of port freight moved by rail, and the HRTPO’s State of Transportation monitors port activity and truck volumes.