Comprehensive Approach to Measure the Mobility Energy Productivity of Freight Transport

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus Citations


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 has been gaining pace in 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, and 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
Pages (from-to)29-43
Number of pages15
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© National Academy of Sciences: Transportation Research Board 2020.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5400-75703


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


Dive into the research topics of 'Comprehensive Approach to Measure the Mobility Energy Productivity of Freight Transport'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this