Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council

Clark County Freight Mobility Study

RTC initiated the Clark County Freight Mobility Study in 2009 to provide an understanding of the key elements of freight movement and to explain why freight and goods movement is important to Clark County’s economy and employment. The study inventoried existing freight and goods movement, and identified current deficiencies and future action items to be addressed as part of ongoing regional and local planning processes. The study began to identify corridor investment needs in order to sustain jobs and economic development for existing and future industrial and employment centers. The study was conducted to supplement the Regional Transportation Plan for Clark County.

Task Reports

The following task reports were published as part of the Clark County Freight Mobility Study (RTC, December 2010). These study reports were used to evaluate freight system deficiencies and future needs, infrastructure and policy needs to support freight mobility in Clark County. A brief synopsis for each report is provided.

Global Trade and Transportation Trends (Task Report 2A)
This report identifies global trade and transportation trends relevant to Clark County and how they might impact the manner and frequency with which shippers and logistics service providers will utilize the global multimodal transportation system and, specifically, Southwest Washington’s multimodal transportation system in the future.

Global Trade and Transportation Trends, 67KB

Current and Expected Economic Conditions and Economic Impact of Freight Delay (Task Report 2B1/2B2)
This economic background report presents a summary of current and expected economic conditions in Clark County. It draws from numerous reports and data sources to document trends in population, employment, wages and personal income, and includes summary forecasts of future economic activity in Clark County. The report focuses on the freight generating sectors of Clark County’s economy, such as agriculture, mining, forestry/logging, construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, and transportation/utilities as the biggest users of the freight system. These sectors use the freight and goods system to receive inputs, to ship outputs, and to move interim products.

Current and Expected Economic Conditions and Economic Impact of Freight Delay, 1.6MB

Outreach to Shippers and Documentation of Representative Supply Chains: Interview Summary (Task Report 2C)
This task was designed to reach out to various stakeholders and users of the multimodal transportation system and, based on that outreach, document representative supply chains significant to Clark County. The report documents the results of surveys of importers and exporters (shippers), motor carriers, ports, barge operators and railroads. The survey included queries regarding the volume of freight flows in, out, and through Clark County by transportation mode; location of manufacturing, processing, distribution centers, and cargo handling facilities; shipping and distribution strategies; the strengths and weaknesses of Clark County’s multimodal transportation system; types of service issues stakeholders have with the system and how these issues impact their operations; and recommendations for how the multimodal transportation system might be improved. Anecdotal information provided by stakeholders about their issues and potential recommendations for multimodal transportation system improvements are included for future use in relating why freight mobility is important to Southwest Washington’s economy.

Outreach to Shippers and Documentation of Representative Supply Chains: Interview Summary , 350KB

Existing and Future Truck Movements (Task Report 3A1/4A1)
This memorandum takes actual truck volumes and employment data for Clark County and determines a correlation between truck trips and industrial employment. This data and correlation is used as the basis for a methodology to determine growth factors to help forecast future truck volumes in various areas of Clark County. The methodology is based on the relationship between land-side freight movement and the industries that generate freight movement. The methodology uses employment data and the employment forecast consistent with Clark County’s Comprehensive Growth Management Plan (September 2007) as well as RTC’s 650 TAZ system aggregated to form 37 TTAZs.

Existing and Future Truck Movements, 1.38MB

Existing and Future Rail Movements (Task Report 3A2/4A2)
This task report presents information about existing rail movements to and through Clark County, and projects how those movements would change in the future. Along with its companion memorandum—Existing and Future Truck Movements—this provides a synopsis of all land-side freight movements in the County.

Existing and Future Rail Movements, 199KB

Vehicle Classification Counts — Best Practices (Task Report 3B1)
Vehicle classification counts are the backbone of freight analysis. Knowing the number and mix of trucks on a given roadway improves the understanding of truck movements in the freight system, how trucks affect traffic operations, and what design standards should be applied. However, there are many different methods that can be used to gather truck data, each with various levels of accuracy depending on the circumstance in which they are used. This technical memorandum provides guidance related to collecting truck count data. It is intended for use by RTC as part of the Clark County Freight Mobility Study and for future truck volume data collection efforts by the RTC. The most commonly used methods now available to perform truck counts are described, and the benefits and disadvantages of the methods are listed in tables. Emerging technologies are also described. Finally, recommended practices that can be used to improve the accuracy of counts are presented.

Vehicle Classification Counts — Best Practices, 262KB

Characteristics of Truck Movements (Task Report 3B3)
The purpose of this technical report is to document existing truck movements throughout Clark County, define the relationship between truck movements and land uses, and understand the relationship between the global supply chain and Clark County’s freight system. The report includes description of truck classifications according to size, sources of truck traffic volumes, and presentation of truck volumes by year, month, weekday, and time of day, including peak hours, for major highways in Clark County.

Characteristics of Truck Movements, 2.83MB

Summary of Existing Design Guidelines Relating to Truck Mobility (Task Report 3C1)
This technical memorandum describes existing policies and roadway design guidelines currently in place to address truck mobility and the movement of freight in Clark County. The memorandum provides a summary of existing freight-related design policies, functional classifications, truck routes, and design guidelines relevant to truck mobility. Clark County is summarized first, followed by the City of Vancouver and other cities in Clark County. Information about WSDOT’s freight classification system is also provided. In general, each jurisdiction establishes its underlying freight mobility policies in its comprehensive plan and/or companion transportation element. Each jurisdiction has an adopted functional classification system that provides the basis for its design criteria and/or standards. Most jurisdictions identify truck routes by functional classification.

Summary of Existing Design Guidelines Relating to Truck Mobility, 123KB

Basic Principles of Truck Mobility (Task Report 3C2)
The purpose of this technical memorandum is to communicate the basic operating and design principles for truck mobility. The application of these principles can result in improved roadway design for truck mobility. Roadway grades, length of grade, and turning radii are key concerns for truck movement. Trucks are bigger and heavier than passenger vehicles, and therefore, are slower to accelerate, require longer stopping distances, require a longer gap in traffic to enter a roadway or merge onto a freeway, and have larger turning radii than a passenger vehicle. These factors need to be considered when designing roads to accommodate freight movement and are particularly important considerations relating to the capacity of significant freight transportation routes. However, care has to be taken not to over-design facilities which can have unintended consequences, impacts to other modes, environmental impacts and excessive cost. Understanding the principles of truck mobility is also useful in land use planning to ensure that nearby uses are compatible with those that generate large volumes of trucks and improve site design.

Basic Principles of Truck Mobility, 272KB

Recommended Regional Actions and Priority Freight Projects (Task Report 4B)
This technical memorandum presents recommended policies, strategies, and projects to improve freight mobility in Clark County. The recommended policies and projects are of regional significance and intended to support a freight element of RTC’s MTP. The technical memorandum includes the recommended strategies and policies including a map of recommended “Freight Corridors of Regional Significance” as well as a table of corridor investment priorities for freight developed from the adopted MTP projects. The technical memorandum presents a starting point for discussion and is based on the study findings prepared for the Clark County Freight Mobility Study.

Recommended Regional Actions and Priority Freight Projects, 158KB

Clark County Freight Mobility Study: Summary Report (RTC Board, December 2010)
The Summary Report and Executive Summary for the Clark County Freight Mobility Study provide an overview of the study. The Report includes a summary of strategies and future action items to allow for continued freight mobility in Clark County to help support economic development and employment.

Clark County Freight Mobility Study: Summary Report, 214KB

Study Maps

Following publication of the Clark County Freight Mobility Study the following maps were produced to show the location of industrial and commercial lands in Clark County and the transportation system that connects these lands to markets, highlighting the importance of integrating freight transportation and land use.

Map 1: Industrial and Commercial Lands
Map 1 shows the Metropolitan Transportation Plan’s Designated Regional Transportation System with Comprehensive Plan designated industrial and commercial lands in the County. These are lands which need to be served by freight transportation.
Map 2: Freight and Goods Transportation System
Map 2 shows WSDOT’s Freight and Goods Transportation System (FGTS) with the Clark County designated industrial and commercial lands.

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