National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP) – FINALLY SOMETHING!!!

National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP) – USDOT.

The National Freight Strategic Plan defines the DOT’s vision and goals for the nation’s multi-modal freight system and defines strategies to achieve these goals. This Department of Transportation developed this plan through a multi-agency effort involving extensive consultation with freight stakeholders in both the public and private sectors. The DOT will use this plan to guide our national freight policy, programs, initiatives and investments. The Plan will also be used to inform state freight plans and identify freight data and research needs. Additionally, it provides a framework for increased cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-modal coordination and partnerships. This Plan meets the requirements of the FAST Act to develop a strategic plan to implement the goals outlined in the new national multi-modal freight policy.

NFSP summary.

National Freight Strategic Plan summary. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) made history by debuting a national plan to improve the nation’s freight transportation system.

NFSP vision.

The freight transportation system of the United States will strengthen our economic competitiveness with safe and reliable supply chains that efficiently and seamlessly connect producers, shippers, and consumers in domestic and foreign markets.

NFSP full report.

National Freight Strategic Plan full report. The National Freight Strategic Plan (NFSP), which was unveiled on September 3, is intended to boost the U.S. economy by streamlining the national multi-modal freight system by investing in infrastructure, the workforce, and cutting regulations.

National Freight Policy Strategic Goals

This National Freight Strategic Plan supports the U.S. DOT strategic goals of Safety, Infrastructure, and Innovation.

SAFETY: Improve the safety, security, and resilience of the national freight system.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Modernize freight infrastructure and operations to grow the economy, increase competitiveness, and improve quality of life.

INNOVATION: Prepare for the future by supporting the development of data, technologies, and workforce capabilities that improve freight system performance.

Federal Role

The following principles are finally being considered (should have been implemented decades ago) to guide U.S. DOT’s strategic leadership to support safe, efficient, and reliable goods movement. It’s a shame it took a pandemic to get the DOT up off of their haunches.

  • Modernize or eliminate unnecessary or duplicate regulations that inhibit supply chain efficiency, reduce incentives to innovation, delay project delivery, or raise costs to shippers and consumers; while protecting safety and environmental outcomes.
  • Improve cross-sector, multi-jurisdictional, and multi-modal collaboration to enhance inter-modal connectivity and first-and last-mile connections, streamline interstate policies and regulations, and support multi-state investment.
  • Provide targeted Federal resources and financial assistance to support freight projects that provide significant benefits to the national economy.
  • Invest in freight data, analytical tools, and research to enhance the abilities of State, regional and local agencies to evaluate and address freight issues.

“The Department is unveiling the first-ever National Freight Strategic Plan so that the U.S. can maintain our competitive edge across major industries like agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and E-commerce,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.


The plan cites several areas of concern for the efficiency of the trucking industry specifically. These include the rising number of truck-involved fatal crashes, the lack of safe truck parking, increasing traffic congestion, automated driving technology, and poor infrastructure.

DOT also cites regulations as a barrier to maximizing freight efficiency: “…freight stakeholders frequently cite certain safety, environmental, and economic regulations as impediments to freight efficiency. There are often different perspectives as to whether these regulations are the best way to reach their intended goals or whether the costs associated with complying with a particular regulation exceed the benefits.”

The plan points to several decade old problems and trends that up until this point nobody wanted to deal with that are driving the immediate need for change so the nation’s supply chain won’t completely fail. Especially things like infrastructure, e-commerce, our population, rising domestic oil production, old and new technologies.


Oh boy! The big FMCSA news.

FMCSA releases a mandated “Corrective Action Plan” for the CSA program.

FMCSA news.

Cutting through the commentary here are the nuts and bolts. The actions the FMCSA stated it will take in its 10 page corrective action plan will include:

  • Moving forward to develop and test an IRT model. That model will be used to inform the agency’s work, with opportunities for public input. As recommended by NAS, if the new IRT model performs well, it will replace the existing SMS. FMCSA will not substantively modify SMS while we are testing the IRT model “to ensure we have a stable comparison to evaluate effectiveness.”
  • Agreeing that more frequent and more detailed Vehicle Miles Traveled data from motor carriers would reduce the need for FMCSA to use substitute values and would improve the quality of the data in SMS. FMCSA currently only collects carrier VMT data every two years. Access to this data, by State, on a monthly basis is not currently feasible, but the agency will continue to identify possible sources for this important data.
  • Agreeing that additional information about carrier operations might improve the agency’s analysis and identification of non-compliant motor carriers. However, the collection of this data would come at a cost, and the benefits are unknown.
  • Agreeing that there could be benefits from making MCMIS data available to researchers and carriers. As a result, the agency’s first effort will be to improve data availability. FMCSA will develop a web page where researchers, carriers, safety consultants, and the public can obtain simplified MCMIS data snapshots.
  • Gathering public input from motor carriers, insurance companies, and shippers regarding the ways in which the public uses SMS data. Using the data collected in these public listening sessions, FMCSA will scope and complete a study specific to the issue of percentile ranks and the usability of public scores.
  • Once IRT modeling is complete, FMCSA will evaluate the use of absolute measures for set intervention thresholds. Absolute measures and percentiles are products of the SMS system. At this time, it is not known how these would be affected once the Agency completes the modeling recommended by NAS. Therefore, FMCSA defers action on this recommendation until it is confirmed this would be relevant.

Everyone is giving this new agenda the big thumbs up. Sorry to say but we’ve only got our big finger up as none of this helps out a niche industry operating within a over regulated industry already mandated with curfews, holiday restrictions and travel time restrictions. So, you get nothing and you get to like it folks.