U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Chapter 5: Implementation Strategies and Recommendations
The scan team developed the following preliminary
recommendations for activities that should follow
from the scan:
- The results of this scan are a wake-up call on the
need for the United States to invest in transportation
infrastructure with a more national perspective
if it is to stay competitive in a global market.
This first, and perhaps most important, recommendation
is to revive a national focus for U.S.
transportation officials. This effort would focus on
the importance of the transportation-economic
integration so evident in China. Key messages in
this effort include the following:
- Federal, State, and local governments cannot
dismiss the potential lessons to be learned
from the Chinese experience because of preconceived
notions that China's form of governance
has no application in the United States.
Major differences in governance exist between
the two countries, but that should not preclude
U.S. consideration of successful concepts being
deployed in China, such as unified national
goals and performance measures. Similar
concepts were once a vital part of U.S.
initiatives such as the building of the
Interstate Highway System.
- Transportation policy with a national
perspective needs to be integrated with
other key national and State-level policies.
This integration could relate to economic
development, trade, community development,
environmental quality, etc.
- Transportation investment should be targeted
to those elements of the national system that
meet the established policy goals. Performance
measures should be established and
monitored to gauge the level of success
- A national transportation policy has room
for both public and private sector roles and
responsibilities. China is ahead of the United
States in the use of private investment in
the transportation sector. In an era when
resources are limited, private investment opportunities should be provided throughout
the transportation system.
- A study of the Yantian Port truck highway facility
should be commissioned. This case study would
be conducted by the Chinese Academy of Transportation
Systems. It would focus on the metrics
the Chinese used to quantify the congestion they
experienced, how they used those metrics to vet
potential solutions, and how they determined
that a dedicated truck lane was the most appropriate
solution. The study would also cover how,
if at all, the Chinese have documented the effect
of the new access road on the congestion they
sought to resolve.
- The Chinese governance structure uses
established performance measures and national
data collection extensively to manage transportation
policy. The scan team believes this
approach has useful constructs, but it is unclear
what specific measures China uses. The concept
of establishing performance goals or levels for
national systems (such as the U.S. Interstate
Highway System) has a potentially useful
application in the United States. A study should
be undertaken to understand how the Chinese
government develops and uses performance
measures to manage its national transportation
policy. In the long term, it would be interesting
to compare and contrast the available performance
measures of both countries.
- A major observation of the scan was the need for
a better understanding of the scheduling and
operation of ship movements to the U.S. west
coast. Because of long-standing traditions and
market considerations, most ships leave China
during the weekend and arrive on the U.S. west
coast at about the same time, placing peak
demands on port operations. It became clear
during the scan visit that opportunities exist to
work with retailers, manufacturers, logistics
providers, shippers, carriers, and terminal operators to flatten out this peak arrival distribution.
FHWA will conduct a preliminary analysis of
vessel bunching to develop a better understanding
of the nature of vessel arrival times in key
U.S. ports. If the data show that a problem does
exist, FHWA will convene a forum to address the
streamlining of vessel bunching at U.S. ports.
- This report is the third of three that have documented
international scans on intermodal freight
and connectivity in different parts of the world.
The scan team recommends that a synthesis be
undertaken of all three scan findings to determine
what has been learned, the implications
to the United States of these lessons, and the
research and training opportunities that should
be developed on these topics to educate the
U.S. transportation community.
- China appears to have a wealth of data on
freight, ports, etc., that is of interest to the U.S.
transportation community. It would be beneficial
to both countries to compare national data
collection strategies and to share information
of mutual benefit. The U.S. Department of
Transportation should pursue a data exchange
program between FHWA and the U.S. Research
and Innovative Technology Administration and
the Chinese Ministry of Communications. A
memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been
signed, so the scan team's recommendation is to
implement this MOU as soon as possible.
- Chinese officials expressed an interest in learning
how the U.S. truck information management
system works. A comparison should be made
between U.S and Chinese truck information
management systems to see if there are areas
of joint benefit and possible applications in the
- The Chinese are in the early stages of truck size
and weight enforcement strategies. They are
starting to recognize the damage that overweight
vehicles cause on the road network. FHWA
should make information available to relevant
Chinese agencies on size and weight enforcement
methodologies, including weigh-in-motion
technologies, and identify possible further
technology exchange opportunities.
- The scan team has identified numerous conferences
and meetings at which the results of this
scan could be presented. Scan team members
will pursue as many of these opportunities as
possible. Other outreach efforts will target specific
audiences, such as congressional committees,
national commissions, Federal and State
agencies, and professional organizations.
- Much of what was reported from this scan
reflects the poor level of understanding that
elected officials and the general public have of
China and its emerging role as a trade superpower.
Educational and public outreach efforts
should be undertaken to inform key constituencies.
This would include incorporating the results
of this scan (and the other two freight scans) into
professional training courses, especially those
focused on freight movement.
- Given the rapid pace in economic growth and
the corresponding expansion of the transportation
system, consideration should be given to
visiting China again in a few years to see what
has happened in several key areas. Among the
questions that it would be useful to explore are
- How might the further development of rail in
China affect passenger and freight movement?
- What lessons can the United States learn as it
invests in its rail system?
- What has been the impact of private
investment on transportation facilities?
- How have new security technologies been
incorporated into port terminal operations?
- What has been the impact of the "Go West"
campaign on logistics costs?
- To what extent are barges still an important
mode of access to coastal ports?
- How has the massive investment in port and
inland transportation infrastructure affected
the relative competitive advantage of different
- How has the trucking industry evolved in
vehicle technology and industry structure?
Page last modified on November 7, 2014