Best planning and implementation toolbox

LAND USE PLANNING NEAR FREIGHT RAIL FACILITIES:

Purpose of Tool:

The Crawford Street Freight Village, pictured here and located in New Zealand, is joint project between New Zealand dairy giant Fonterra and the freight distribution company Toll Holdings. The primary uses for this site included freight storage, handling and distribution services. The strategic location of this central distribution depot, coupled with a heavy duty container yard, waste water facilities, rail lines and highways makes it a crucial distribution hub.
of the industrial nature of freight rail transportation facilities and their specific traffic access and circulation needs, land use planning for the areas surrounding them is especially important. These planning activities can include environmental or community impact studies, a land use assessment, and / or an economic development analysis. Land use planning and analysis activities should support improved coordination between neighboring land uses, and be integrated into any relevant comprehensive or region-wide freight transportation strategy. The goals of such an analysis can include:
  • Consideration of noise and other environmental impacts,
  • Evaluation of impacts to the roadway network,
  • Evaluation for compatibility with freight facility operations, including any storage or intermodal yards, and
  • Analyses of economic and employment impacts of freight facility operations on adjacent communities.

    Benefits of Using Tool:
    Land use planning near freight facilities can minimize potential conflicts between freight transport and nearby land uses while supporting any relevant region-wide freight transport plan. This practice has the following economic and employment benefits for a community or region at large:
  • Reduces land use conflicts, avoiding potentially costly and time-consuming litigation,
  • Provides opportunities for increased efficiency and business synergy in a targeted area,
  • Relieves congestion and reduces overall vehicle miles traveled, and
  • Provides a coordinated re-use opportunity for former or current brownfield sites located near major freight markets.

    Steps Involved to Use Tool:
    Land use assessments performed for areas surrounding freight facilities typically identify strategies to achieve mutually supporting freight facility operations and surrounding land uses. In most cases, such efforts are led by the public agency responsible for the zoning, land use and transportation coordination in the area. Public agencies and communities working together can enhance the freight and land use relationship by implementing any of the following techniques:
  • Identify areas where freight transport and adjacent land uses may be in conflict
  • Conduct site visits and collect data on freight and traffic volume at peak use times
  • Examine interactions among different land uses and assess any existing freight transportation and land use connections
  • Provide incentives to enhance existing connections between freight transport needs and redevelopment or reuse opportunities
  • Develop freight-supportive land use guidelines, such as requiring buffers or transitional zones between incompatable land uses, or protecting/reserving undeveloped land adjacent to freight facilites for future expansion though zoning, easements, or land acquisition.

    Special Requirements to Use Tool:
    A number of variables can alter the process of land use planning near freight transit operations, which makes it difficult to apply a uniform method or process across a variety of freight facility settings. A more standardized option to consider for coordinating land use and freight transport is a combined freight and land use concept popular in Europe known as the “Freight Village.” In the U.S., Freight Villages are sometimes known as “Integrated Logistics Centers” (ILC). Freight Villages are defined as a cluster of freight-related businesses located inside a secure perimeter operated under single management structure. Freight Villages usually offer intermodal transfer options, logistics services, integrated distribution, warehousing capabilities, showrooms, and support services. Such support services might include: security, maintenance, mail, banking, customs and import management assistance, cafeterias, restaurants, office space, conference rooms, hotels, and public or activity-center transportation.


    Specials Resources Needed to Use Tool:
    The following tools and resources can help improve land use planning near freight facilities:
  • Enacting proactive freight-transit supportive zoning and land use designations in areas where conflicts or expansions are predicted. This can include incorporating building delivery and access considerations into the site design and review processes. These measures should address adequate access for deliveries, standards for loading zones, street design, and truck routes.
  • Increase outreach efforts to freight operators, shippers, and receivers in order to provide advanced training and education to local constituencies on current logistic and freight considerations.

    Communities / Agencies that Have Used Tool:
    The Regional Freight Plan Project of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) was developed to create a roadmap for the improvement of freight transportation in the greater New York City area. The plan presents a wide range of strategies and actions that include capital projects, operational improvements, and policy changes. NYMTC worked closely with partner communities and agencies to coordinate land use planning and freight transport using the following process and methods:
  • After extensive public outreach, a working list of freight transport strategies and actions were developed.
  • In addition to testing the freight improvement strategies, non-transportation measures such as the impacts of freight transit on the environment, economy, connectivity, communities, and the surrounding land uses were assessed.
  • The planning process revealed that industrial uses, warehouses, and factories related to freight transportation in New York City occupy 6,101 acres, nearly four percent of the City’s total lot area, presenting a significant opportunity for land use and freight transit coordination.
  • As a result, NYMTC has undertaken a feasibility study to determine the practicality of developing multiple Freight Villages / ILCs in the New York region.

    New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC)
    199 Water Street, 22nd Floor
    New York, NY 10038-3534
    (212) 383-2530
    hmann@dot.state.ny.us (Howard Mann, Freight Planning Unit)
    Online: www.nymtc.org

    Metrics to Use to Monitor Tool Effectiveness:
    Employment and freight volume statistics can be a good indicator of (1) the potential for successful implementation of Freight Villages / ILCs or other land use and freight transit coordination efforts in the U.S., and (2) the scale of freight transport and land use planning possible at Freight Villages / ILCs in the U.S. For example:
  • The 10-county New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) region already experiences the highest volume of freight movement of any metropolitan area. More broadly, regional commodity flows in the U.S. are expected to grow from the 333 million annual tons observed in 1998 to 490.5 million annual tons in 2025, a 47 percent increase. Nationally, it is anticipated that the volume of freight will increase by 68 percent between 1998 and 2020.
  • The Raritan ILC in New Jersey is built on a former arsenal site. This center occupies 2,350 acres and runs two freight facilities with freight storage yards that haul approximately 4,000 to 5,000 carloads of freight per year. Currently there are 12,000 employees on site who take advantage of auxiliary services such as hotels and offices which are co-located within the ILC.


    List of Resources to Obtain Additional Info:
    See the following sources for more information:
  • Howard Mann, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, Freight Village, NYMTC Brown Bag Presentation, 2005. PDF: Freight Village
  • Caroline Marshall, Coordinating Freight Mobility and Land Use Planning in the Atlanta Region, Atlanta Regional Freight and Mobility Plan, 2007. PDF: Atlanta Regional Freight Mobility Plan.pdf
  • Roberta Weisbrod, Freight Village, Context Sensitive Design FHWA Talking Freight Series, May 2005. Online: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/download/hep/freightplanning/talkingfreight05_18_05rw.ppt
  • Roberta Weisbrod, et al., Global Freight Villages: A Solution to the Urban Freight Dilemma, prepared for the Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting, 2002.

    1 The Union County Department of Economic Development, A Global Freight Village in the Tremley Point Area, New Jersey, 2005, slide 19.
    2 Caroline Marshall, Coordinating Freight Mobility and Land Use Planning in the Atlanta Region, Atlanta Regional Freight and Mobility Plan, 2007, slide 7.
    3 Caroline Marshall, Coordinating Freight Mobility and Land Use Planning in the Atlanta Region, Atlanta Regional Freight and Mobility Plan, 2007, slide 19.
    4 Include a hyperlink here to the “Activity Center Transportation” tool description.
    5 The Union County Department of Economic Development, A Global Freight Village in the Tremley Point Area, New Jersey, 2005. Online: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/download/hep/freightplanning/talkingfreight05_18_05rw.ppt#2
    6 Caroline Marshall, Coordinating Freight Mobility and Land Use Planning in the Atlanta Region, Atlanta Regional Freight and Mobility Plan, 2007, slide 24.
    7 New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, 2005-2030 Draft Regional Transportation Plan, Freight Plan, Appendix F. Online: http://www.nymtc.org/files/RTP05files/appx_F.pdf
    8 Howard Mann, New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, Freight Village, NYMTC Brown Bag Presentation, 2005, slide 11.
    9 New York Metropolitan Transportation Council, 2005-2030 Draft Regional Transportation Plan, Freight Plan, Appendix F, page 2.
    10 FHWA, Talking Freight Transcript, Freight and Land Use Presentations, November 19, 2008, Online: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/freightplanning/nov1908transcript.htm