California transportation agency unveils plan to streamline state’s freight mobility

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California Expressway
Caltrans, California’s transportation agency, has developed a plan to ensure freight moves through the state safely and efficiently.

SACRAMENTO — Goods will move through California more efficiently, safely and sustainably under a plan unveiled by Caltrans on July 20, the agency says.

The California Freight Mobility Plan 2020 details immediate and long-term policies, strategies and investments necessary to support the state’s ever-evolving, complex network for transporting goods, whether by truck, train, ship, airplane, automobile, bicycle, foot or robot. The plan focuses on strengthening the state’s existing infrastructure and making strategic improvements to further develop an innovative, economically competitive freight system while protecting communities and the environment.

As a national gateway for international trade and domestic commerce, California’s freight sector is a powerful engine for the state’s economy, the agency said in a statement. Caltrans cited California’s agriculture industry as an example, noting that agriculture depends on an agile distribution network to quickly deliver fresh produce to markets around the globe. Many of the state’s other leading industries, including transportation, utilities, trade, manufacturing, construction and mining, count on an interconnected, reliable freight system to efficiently store, process and distribute supplies.

To help ensure that California’s freight industry is able to adapt and maintain competitive advantages while also working toward achieving the state’s environmental goals, the plan released by Caltrans examines several innovations and emerging technologies, such as e-commerce, 3-D printing and autonomous vehicles, that could change how industries interact with freight networks. The plan also highlights ways to lessen the freight system’s negative environmental impacts, particularly on low-income communities positioned near trucking corridors, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“The COVID-19 health crisis has increased our understanding of how important the freight industry is to our health and economic well-being,” said Toks Omishakin, director of Caltrans. “This plan will inform our decisions and help grow our economy through increased competition, efficiency and sustainability of our freight system.”

The plan identifies seven goals created through extensive outreach and community engagement:

  • Economic prosperity: Grow the economic competitiveness of California’s freight sector through increased system efficiency, productivity, and workforce preparation.
  • Environmental stewardship: Avoid, reduce, and/or mitigate adverse environmental impacts of the freight transportation system while promoting ecological restoration in the planning process.
  • Healthy communities: Enhance community health and well-being by mitigating the negative impacts of the freight system.
  • Safety and resiliency: Reduce freight-related deaths/injuries and improve system resilience by addressing infrastructure vulnerabilities associated with security threats, expected climate change impacts, and natural disasters.
  • Asset management: Maintain and preserve freight-related infrastructure.
  • Connectivity and accessibility: Provide transportation choices and improve system connectivity for all freight modes.
  • Multimodal mobility: Maintain, enhance, and modernize the multimodal freight transportation system by improving network efficiency and travel time reliability, and reducing congestion.

To review the California Freight Mobility Plan for 2020, click here.

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