This November, Commissioner Charles A. Zelle signed the 2016 Minnesota Statewide Freight System Plan. This Plan is an update to Minnesota’s first State Freight Plan developed in 2005. The 96-page document describes:
- Minnesota’s freight transportation system and its role in the state’s economy
- Current and emerging industry trends
- The performance of the freight transportation system
- Current and future issues and needs
This post gives an overview of what the Plan says in regards to trucking.
The Plan emphasizes the need to educate the public on the critical role freight plays in the economy and everyday life of Minnesotans. It seeks to create programs and projects that maintain Minnesota’s high quality of life by balancing the local negative impacts of freight transportation with the National benefits provided.
In terms of advocacy, the Freight System Plan seeks to encourage partnerships among industry stakeholders to address Minnesota’s freight issues together. It emphasizes the need for an ongoing dialogue between public- and private-sector freight stakeholders to keep freight topics front and center, and also the need to advocate for more technical programs to ensure workforce availability.
The vast majority of items concerning routes/planning stressed the obligation of such committees to keep trucking in mind when discussing possible transportation changes. Such changes include:
- Complete Streets – Treatments that consider truck movements as part of total vehicle traffic.
- First-/Last-Mile Connections – Creating connections like highway access and rail spurs to local businesses.
- Design for Freight Safety – Designing and implementing geometric features to improve vehicle safety (i.e., rumble strips and wider shoulders).
In addition to roadways, the Plan also addresses the need for the development of transportation facilities:
- Land Use Planning and Policies – Ensuring freight development areas are designated and preserved.
- Intermodal and Multimodal Facilities – Developing to allow goods to shift between modes such as truck, rail, and water.
- Truck Parking – Conducting an assessment of truck parking and plan for expansion.
Minnesota’s Plan calls for a restructuring of MnDOT’s programs to more adequately address freight needs. The development of a detailed FAST Act compliant prioritized investment plan, including a more targeted plan to support and enhance multimodal freight systems, is also called upon.
Finally, the 2016 Minnesota Freight System Plan aims to monitor advanced technologies and their applications for freight. This includes providing freight-specific traveler information, such as truck parking availability and expected travel times. Such measures would be accomplished through the Plan’s increase in freight data collection (i.e., truck counts).
Truck Writers aims to keep industry stakeholders informed about new initiatives and industry happenings. We are proud to go beyond our insurance services to educate our clients. To learn more about Truck Writers’ insurance offerings, contact an agent today.