Clean Freight Corridors

Focus Area

Climate Change


Air Quality, Environmental Process







Research Idea Scope

Freight movement accounts for approximately 20% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from transportation and is expected to increase in its share. The logistical challenges of freight transportation which involves multiple modes and transfer operations adds to the complexity to determine the carbon footprint for shipping a particular good and to developing solutions for reducing the GHG emissions from freight transportation. By identifying one or more critical corridors of freight transportation and analyzing these corridors and their key multimodal supply chains; strategies, technologies and practices can be developed to address GHG emissions from freight transportation at the same time promoting safety, mobility and reducing other forms of pollution.  
This project is focused on a top down look at key transportation corridors to assess key governmental actions that can be taken to try to achieve carbon neutral corridors.
To research one or more freight corridors for potential to reduce GHG emissions while addressing other key goals such as economic efficiency and safety. Results could be used to guide future clean freight corridor initiatives.
Related Work
·      I-95 Corridor Coalition: A 2040 Vision for the I-95 Coalition Region, Dec. 2008
·      National Rail Freight Infrastructure Capacity and Investment Study, AAR, Sept. 2007
·      Moving Cooler; NRDC, ULI, USDOT, EPA, etc.; September 2009
Urgency/PriorityFreight and climate change issues have been somewhat overlooked in the rush to develop strategies and policies to reduce emissions from passenger transportation modes. Freight transportation is much less understood by planning agencies and therefore often is not considered in Climate Change Action Plans.

Urgency and Payoff

Findings could be used in implementing technologies and polices to produce model Clean Freight Corridors, including Corridors of the Future recently selected by USDOT or possibly in the creation of a Federal Clean Freight Corridors program in next authorization.
EffectivenessWould assist state and multistate transportation entities to better incorporate freight and climate implications into their transportation plans and programs.

Suggested By

RNS. Sponsoring Committee: A0020T, Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy Source Info: Special Task Force on Climate Change and Energy January 2010 Workshop