Freight Impact Report
In June 2002, MORPC completed participation as a case study in the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) “Freight Impacts on Ohio’s Roadway System” project. This study focused on the movement of freight within and through Ohio, addressing such issues as the impact of freight on Ohio’s economy and roadways, offering projections for freight growth, and providing recommendations for capitalizing on the opportunities to improve the flow of freight within and through the State. 

MORPC conducted a case study investigating whether or not it was possible to link a National freight movement database to the MORPC travel demand model. We found that we could and the results were very interesting. Figure 24 shows the results of incorporating the freight data into MORPC’s model. Other observations include:

  • In our region truck traffic is expected to double by 2020 - that’s more than the statewide average of 89%
  • 66% of truck trips in Central Ohio do NOT have an origin or destination in the area
  • 33% of the trips DO start or stop in Central Ohio and we can see between the base year and 2020 that truck movements/patterns change

Central Ohio Regional Rail Study
In September 2001, MORPC completed the Central Ohio Regional Rail Study that identified specific freight rail options in Central Ohio that could provide greater opportunities to enhance transportation to/within the region. Funding participants in this study included the Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Rail Development Commission, Ohio Department of Development, COTA and the City of Columbus. The corridors selected for analysis in the project were based on COTA’s Vision 2020 Rail Corridors. There is a close connection between existing freight rail lines and COTA’s designated light rail corridors in Central Ohio.

Working in close coordination with NS and CSX, the opportunities hidden within the existing rail system became apparent to the study participants who came together to determine what changes could be made in the system to further benefit the region. Specifically, these partners were looking to: increase the efficiency of freight operations, reduce grade crossing accidents and blocked crossings, enhance opportunities for rail passenger service within the region, encourage economic development in Central Ohio, and reduce vehicular traffic congestion.

By accomplishing these goals, the community would realize better freight service, enhanced economic development opportunities associated with the freight improvements, introduction of rail passenger service in Central Ohio, and reduced auto congestion resulting from reduced at-grade crossing conflicts and increased transit ridership.