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NEWS RELEASE

Ohio Department of Transportation Internet News Release
October 10, 2002

Freight Study Provides Insight for Transportation Policies

Columbus Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director Gordon Proctor and other state and national transportation leaders today presented findings of the recently completed Ohio freight study, Freight Impacts on Ohio's Roadway System, during a symposium at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.

According to the report, Ohio is at the center of a freight industry that has grown dramatically during the 90s, and the effects on traffic congestion, pavement conditions, and the state's economy are significant. "Ohio is a good microcosm of troubling freight trends across the country because our interstate highway system is America's fourth largest and we estimate it carries the third greatest value of truck freight in the county," said Proctor.

The study confirms that the majority of Ohio's freight is moved by trucks over the state's roadways. Trucks carry 60 percent by weight (566 million tons) and 74 percent by value ($1.3 trillion) of all the freight shipped and received by Ohio business and industry. While these shipments are vital to Ohio's economy, increasing truck traffic accounts for much of the wear and tear and congestion on roadways.

Through the study, ODOT has a clear picture of current freight movements in Ohio and projections for the next 20 years the department can use to prepare for its impacts on the maintenance of the state's transportation system and take advantage of potential benefits to the state's economy. By knowing what routes freight is taking, the impact on pavements and bridges, and what commodities are traveling though Ohio, ODOT can shape policies to meet the demands and be in a position of support in Ohio's economic development.

Access Ohio, the plan for ODOT to update the 20-year plan for Ohio's transportation system, will be strongly influenced by the findings of the freight traffic analysis. The federally required plan is necessary to establish long range goals for the department. Additionally, the study will be used to help the Transportation Review Advisory Council (TRAC) decide the distribution of funding in Ohio for road and bridge improvements. The study forecasts an increase in general and freight traffic that will require a 20 percent increase of above current spending levels to keep pace.

"The development of this freight profile of Ohio is critical to be able to manage and accommodate the large amount of freight that travels though the state," said Suzann Gad, ODOT administrator of urban corridor planning.