U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Office of International Programs

FHWA Home / Office of International Programs

Chapter 5: Implementation Strategies and Recommendations

The scan team developed the following preliminary recommendations for activities that should follow from the scan:

  1. 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 achieved.
    • 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 United States.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 the following:
    • 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 Chinese ports?
    • How has the trucking industry evolved in vehicle technology and industry structure?
<< Previous Contents Next >>
Page last modified on November 7, 2014
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000