“Goods and Services” or “Freight”

When I was starting this blog, I got feedback from a number of potential contributors that just talking about “mobility” was a problem, that “access” was the more comprehensive way to look at the issues. I eventually compromised and put both in the tag line for this site.

I’m getting a similar education about “freight”. I’m coming to understand that the “movement of goods and services” is the more comprehensive way to look at this issue. This is particularly relevant as the Portland Freight Master Plan makes its way to the Planning Commission and then City Council.

On Tuesday I attended a lecture in the PSU Transportation Seminar Series by Doug Hunt, a Professor at the University of Calgary.

While Professor Hunt’s main theme was about the intracacies of modeling the movement of commercial vehicles, which make up perhaps 12-16% of all vehicles on the road (the rest being “household” vehicles), as context, he presented statistics about the composition of that traffic.

Only about two-thirds of commercial traffic is what a layman might think of as “freight”, goods being shipped in large trucks. The other third is transported in smaller trucks, vans and cars. Commercial services are almost entirely delivered in smaller vehicles.

So as we plan how our transportation system will serve the region’s economy, we would do well to think about ALL of the movements that contribute, not just tractor-trailers.

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