Freight traffic on the U.S transportation system is growing rapidly, fueled by growing international trade and modern manufacturing and distribution supply chain practices such as just-in-time delivery. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) forecasts that freight tonnage will almost double between 2002 and 2035. This translates into comparable increases in truck traffic, which has been growing at a faster rate than that of all other classes of highway vehicles since about 1995. Improved and coordinated land use and transportation planning have been posited as the ultimate solution to urban traffic congestion, but would such measures be effective in reducing truck traffic? What relationship, if any, currently exists between land use, urban form, and freight and commercial vehicle miles of traveled (VMT) in metropolitan areas? This paper investigates what is currently known about this relationship, and concludes with a proposed research plan for resolving the outstanding issues.


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