A Comprehensive Approach to Measure the Mobility Energy Productivity of Freight Transport: Preprint

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

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


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 are 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 aggregate in nature, making them unsuitable to accurately capture the impact of emerging transportation trends on the performance or productivity of freight systems. Addressing the research need, this paper presents the “Freight Mobility Energy Productivity” metric to quantify freight productivity 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 productivity. Further, a scenario analysis exercise was conducted to test the capability of the metric in tracking improvements in system-level freight productivity as a result of vehicle electrification. The relative differences in Freight Mobility Energy Productivity scores help identify which zones benefit from the vehicle powertrain technology improvement. The results of the scenario analysis reinforce confidence that the proposed metric can be used as a decision support tool in assessing the productivity of existing as well as future freight trends and technologies.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages25
StatePublished - 2020
Event2020 TRB Annual Meeting - Washington D.C.
Duration: 12 Jan 202016 Jan 2020


Conference2020 TRB Annual Meeting
CityWashington D.C.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5400-74532


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


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