[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 25 (Wednesday, February 6, 2013)]
[Pages 8686-8689]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-02580]



Federal Highway Administration

Establishment of the National Freight Network

AGENCY: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), DOT.

ACTION: Notice.


SUMMARY: This notice defines the planned process for the designation of 
the national freight network as required by Section 1115 of the Moving 
Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21). This notice 
defines the process for the initial designation of the primary freight 
network, the designation of additional miles critical to future 
efficient movement of goods on the primary freight network, and how 
data on the State-designated critical rural freight corridors will be 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For questions about the program 
discussed herein, contact Ed Strocko, FHWA Office of Freight Management 
and Operations, (202) 366-2997, or via email at [email protected]. For 
legal questions, please contact Michael Harkins, FHWA Office of the 
Chief Counsel, (202) 366-4928, or via email at [email protected]. 
Business hours for the FHWA are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., e.t., 
Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays.


Electronic Access

    You may retrieve a copy of the notice through the Federal 
eRulemaking portal at: http://www.regulations.gov. The Web site is 
available 24 hours each day, every day of the year. Electronic 
submission and retrieval help and guidelines are available under the 
help section of the Web site.
    An electronic copy of this document may also be downloaded from 
Office of the Federal Register's home page at: http://www.archives.gov/federal_register and the Government Printing Office's Web page at: 


    Freight in America travels over an extensive multimodal network of 
highways, railroads, waterways, pipelines, and airways. Freight moves 
throughout the United States on 985,000 miles of Federal-aid highways, 
141,000 miles of railroads, 11,000 miles of inland waterways, and 1.6 
million miles of pipelines. There are over 19,000 airports in the 
United States, with approximately 540 serving commercial operations, 
and over 5,000 coastal, Great Lakes, and inland waterway facilities 
moving cargo.

[[Page 8687]]

    A significant portion of the freight moved in the United States 
travels on multiple modes of transportation to reach its final 
destination. While specific commodities are likely to use a particular 
mode or series of modes to be moved, a complex multimodal system is 
required to fully meet the growing volume of bulk and high velocity/
high value goods in the United States. Each component of the freight 
transportation system must work in concert with each other to meet the 
day-to-day demands of commerce.
    Section 167(c) of title 23 United States Code (U.S.C.), which was 
established in Section 1115 of MAP-21, directs the Secretary to 
establish a national freight network to assist States in strategically 
directing resources toward improved system performance for efficient 
movement of freight on the highway portion of the Nation's freight 
transportation system. This includes the National Highway System, 
freight intermodal connectors, and aerotropolis \1\ transportation 

    \1\ Aerotropolis transportation systems means a planned and 
coordinated multimodal freight and passenger transportation network 
that, as determined by the Secretary, provides efficient, cost-
effective, sustainable, and intermodal connectivity to a defined 
region of economic significance centered around a major airport.

    Under 23 U.S.C. 167(c), the national freight network will consist 
of the primary freight network, the portions of the Interstate System 
not designated as part of the primary freight network, and critical 
rural freight corridors. The designation of the primary freight network 
will be based on an inventory of national freight volume conducted by 
the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, in 
consultation with stakeholders, including system users, transport 
providers, and States. The primary freight network will be comprised of 
not more than 27,000 centerline miles of existing roadways that are 
most critical to the movement of freight, but the 27,000 mile cap may 
be increased by an additional 3,000 centerline miles of existing and 
planned roadways that the Secretary deems critical to the future 
efficient movement of goods on the primary freight network.
    The MAP-21 also establishes the policy of the United States to 
improve the condition and performance of this national freight network 
to ensure that it provides the foundation for the United States to 
compete in the global economy and achieve the goals of the national 
freight policy. Consistent with the national freight policy, strategies 
to improve system performance on the national freight network should 
consider solution sets that effectively integrate the entire freight 
transportation system, including non-highway modes of freight 
transport, in order to maximize the efficiency of the national freight 

Purpose of This Notice

    The purpose of this notice is threefold: (1) To provide to 
stakeholders the planned process and criteria for the designation of 
not more than 27,000 centerline miles for the primary freight network, 
(2) to describe the principles and factors to be used for the 
designation of up to 3,000 additional centerline miles critical to 
future efficient movement of goods on the primary freight network, and 
(3) to establish how data for the State-designated critical rural 
freight corridors will be collected.

Primary Freight Network Designation

    The designation of the primary freight network will be based on 
measureable and objective data, including: origins and destinations of 
freight movements; total freight tonnage and value of freight moved by 
highways; percentage of annual average daily truck traffic (AADTT) in 
the annual average daily traffic (AADT) on principal arterials; AADTT 
on principal arterials; land and maritime ports of entry; access to 
energy exploration, development, installation, or production areas; 
population centers; and network connectivity. The analysis will 
primarily use data from the Freight Analysis Framework maintained by 
the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Other DOT modal agencies 
including the Federal Railroad Administration, Maritime Administration, 
Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Federal 
Aviation Administration, and Bureau of Transportation Statistics will 
be consulted and other data will be incorporated into the analysis. 
Multiple scenarios will be analyzed using various weighting 
configurations to identify a primary freight network of up to 27,000 
centerline miles. Such scenarios may target a range of tonnage or 
commodity values which are transported, a range of truck traffic 
volumes, or a range of percentages of truck traffic on principal 
arterials. Scenarios will also analyze: ranges of service and access to 
significant ports of entry/exit for international trade; access to 
energy areas; access to population centers; and network connectivity 
that includes multimodal aspects of the freight transportation system, 
such as rail lines parallel to principal arterials that carry trailer-
on-flatcar, container-on-flatcar, and doublestack payloads of typically 
high-value, time-sensitive cargo, and rail lines and waterways that 
carry significant bulk cargo.
    The following table denotes the factors, data sources, and 
parameters that may be used for designation of the primary freight 

           Factor                  Data source           Parameters
Origins/destinations of       FAF 3.4.............  Connect top origins/
 freight movements.           http://faf.ornl.gov/   destinations
Freight tonnage and value by  FAF 3.4.............  Include top routes
 highways.                    http://faf.ornl.gov/   by weight of
                               fafweb/               freight
                               Extraction0.aspx.     transported;
                                                    Include top routes
                                                     by value of
Percentage of AADTT on        HPMS 2010 AADTT.....  Include top routes
 principal arterials.         http://                by percentage of
                               www.fhwa.dot.gov/     AADTT on principal
                               policyinformation/    arterials
AADTT on principal arterials  HPMS 2010 AADTT.....  Include top routes
                              http://                by AADTT on
                               www.fhwa.dot.gov/     principal arterials
Land & maritime ports of      USACE...............  Connect top water
 entry.                       U.S. Army Corps,       ports ranked by
                               Navigation Data       weight and values
                               Center, special
                               request, October
                               2012 via BTS.
                              MARAD...............  Connect top water
                              http://                ports ranked by
                               www.marad.dot.gov/    number of TEUs
                              BTS Transborder data  Connect top water
                              http://www.bts.gov/    ports ranked by
                               programs/             weight and values

[[Page 8688]]

Access to energy              EIA (US Energy        Include access to
 exploration, development,     Information Admin.).  coal basins, top
 installation or production   http://www.eia.gov/    coal mines, coalbed
 areas.                        pub/oil_gas/         methane fields,
                               natural_gas/         natural gas
                               analysis_publicati   production
                               ons/maps/             locations, gas and
                               maps.htm#geodata.     oil plays
                                                     (exploration areas)
                              Pennwell Mapsearch    Include access to
                               data via Pipeline     oil refineries and
                               and Hazardous         distribution
                               Materials Safety      centers
                              Pennwell Mapsearch    Include access to
                               data via Pipeline     biodiesel and
                               and Hazardous         ethanol plants
                               Materials Safety
Population centers..........  2010 Census.........  Connect top
                              http://                urbanized areas;
                               www.census.gov/cgi-   Utilize Census
                               bin/geo/              Urbanized Area
                               shapefiles2010/main.  Boundary for
                                                     geographic areas
Network connectivity........  FAF 3.4.............  In order to reduce
                              http://faf.ornl.gov/   gaps in the
                               fafweb/               network, connect
                               Extraction0.aspx.     PFN segments to one
                                                     another, to the
                                                     Interstate System,
                                                     or begin/end at
                                                     access point

    The following table denotes the other factors, data sources, and 
parameters that may be considered in the designation of the primary 
freight network:

           Factor                  Data source           Parameters
Major intermodal connectors.  NHS Intermodal        Connect major
                               Connectors.           airport facilities,
                              http://                rail hubs, pipeline
                               www.fhwa.dot.gov/     terminals, and port
                               planning/national--   terminals
                              FHWA research report
                              Distribution centers
                               and warehouse
Air ports of entry..........  FAA.................  Connect top air
                              http://www.faa.gov/    ports of entry by
                               airports/planning--   landed weight
                              U.S. Department of    Connect top air
                               Commerce, U.S.        ports of entry by
                               Census Bureau,        value
                               Foreign Trade
                               Division, USA Trade
                               Online, August 2012.
For routes off the            FAF 3.4.............  Where there are
 Interstate System,           http://faf.ornl.gov/   parallel routes to
 designation on the National   fafweb/               consider, avoidance
 Network of highways that      Extraction0.aspx.     of routes on the
 can safely and efficiently                          National Network
 accommodate the large                               that are
 vehicles authorized by the                          `restricted' or
 State.                                              `low clearance'
For routes off the            FHWA research report  Where there are
 Interstate System,                                  parallel routes as
 availability of truck                               alternatives,
 facilities.                                         consider presence
                                                     of truck stops,
                                                     rest areas, and
                                                     weigh stations as

Primary Freight Network Additional Miles

    Title 23 U.S.C. 167(d)(2) allows for up to 3,000 additional miles 
to be designated for the primary freight network that are critical to 
the future efficient movement of goods on the primary freight network, 
which may include existing or planned roads. In determining whether a 
route is critical to the future efficient movement of good on the 
primary freight network, the Secretary will consider the factors 
identified above for the designation of the initial 27,000 centerline 
miles as well as one or more additional factors, which may include, but 
are not limited to: supply chain/distribution network considerations 
including flows of key commodities; connections to major intermodal 
connectors; global and national economic and growth trends and growth 
areas; length of haul and its effect on tonnage on the primary freight 
network; designation on the National Network, as defined in 23 CFR part 
658, without restrictions or clearance issues; availability of truck 
amenities; current or planned waterway, rail, port or intermodal 
terminal infrastructure developments that may impact future freight 
flows; freight bottlenecks; connection to international border 
crossings; and consideration of planned unbuilt highway facilities. 
Additional miles may also be reserved for future designation, as 
    The following table denotes the factors and parameters that may be 
considered in designation of up to 3,000 additional miles to the 
primary freight network:

                 Factor                             Parameters
National growth needs and growth areas,  Target growth areas for
 including routes used by commodities     additional mileage
 identified in the National Export
Waterway, rail, port and intermodal      Consider future infrastructure
 terminal infrastructure developments.    impacts on freight patterns
                                          and capacity of other modes to
                                          carry additional freight
Changes to global/national economies     Consider future infrastructure
 and population centers.                  impacts on freight patterns
Customs and border crossing areas......  Consider current/future border
                                          crossing impacts on freight

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Planned unbuilt NHS facilities.........  Add in significant planned
                                          facilities -10 year window

Rural freight corridors

    The State-designation of critical rural freight corridors is 
described in 23 U.S.C. 167(e), and provides that a State may designate 
a road within the borders of the State as a critical rural freight 
corridor if the road is a rural principal arterial roadway and has at 
least 25 percent of the AADT of the road measured in passenger vehicle 
equivalent units from trucks (FHWA vehicle class 8 to 13); provides 
access to energy exploration, development, installation or production 
areas; or connects the primary freight network, a roadway described 
above, or the Interstate System to facilities that handle more than 
50,000 20-foot equivalent units per year, or 500,000 tons per year of 
bulk commodities. The designation of critical rural freight corridors 
will be performed by State DOTs and provided to DOT after designation 
of the primary freight network is complete. Further guidance and 
technical assistance for identifying these corridors will be provided. 
The FHWA will make an initial request for the States to identify rural 
freight corridors and will maintain route information for the rural 
freight corridors thereafter.

Planned Schedule

    The following is the approximate schedule for designation of the 
national freight network. Key milestones include:
    1. Publication of analysis results and draft designation of the 
primary freight network--February 2013
    2. Guidance/technical assistance available to States to begin 
analysis of potential critical rural freight corridors--May 2013
    3. Final designation of the primary freight network, including any 
additional mileage designated by DOT--October 2013
    4. Request to States to identify critical rural freight corridors--
October 2013
    5. Initial designation of full national freight network (including 
primary freight network, rest of the Interstate system, critical rural 
freight corridors)--December 2013

    Issued on: January 23, 2013.
 Victor M. Mendez,
[FR Doc. 2013-02580 Filed 2-5-13; 8:45 am]