A Comprehensive Approach to Measure the Efficiency of Freight Transport: Freight Mobility Energy Productivity (F-MEP) Metric

Kyungsoo Jeong, Venu Garikapati, Alicia Birky, Kevin Walkowicz, Yi Hou

Research output: NRELPoster


Freight travel accounts for a major share of the energy consumed in the transportation sector in any country, and the United States is no exception. Understanding and modeling freight movement is critical, particularly in the context of capturing the impact of emerging technologies on freight travel and its externalities. The domain of freight modeling and forecasting is gaining pace in the recent years, but advancement in comprehensive freight performance metrics is still lagging. Conventional freight performance metrics such as truck-miles, ton-miles, or value-miles are unidimensional and aggregated in nature, making them unsuitable to accurately capture the impact of emerging transportation trends on the performance of freight systems. Addressing this research need, this paper presents the 'Freight Mobility Energy Productivity' metric to quantify freight performance of current as well as future freight systems, accounting for various costs associated with freight transport. The proposed metric was implemented using data from the Freight Analysis Framework along with other published sources, which shows intuitive results in quantifying freight performance. Further, a scenario analysis exercise was conducted to test the capability of the metric in tracking improvements in system-level freight efficiency as a result of vehicle powertrain technology improvement. Results of the scenario analysis reinforce confidence that the proposed metric can be used as a decision support tool in assessing the efficiency of existing as well as future freight trends and technologies.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2020

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2020 Transportation Research Board (TRB) 99th Annual Meeting, 12-16 January 2020, Washington, D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5400-75721


  • energy productivity
  • freight efficiency
  • freight mobility
  • freight transportation
  • performance metrics


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