Transportation planning, trade analysis, and freight logistics

Dan has played a lead role on a wide range of statewide transportation plans, freight plans, rail plans, cross-border studies, and freight logistics evaluations. Dan has assessed issues and opportunities in trade and infrastructure connecting the US and Canada (in Montana and the northeast US), as well as contributing to the entire range of freight and rail plans. He has developed seaport ROI models for Florida DOT, export analyses for Massachusetts demonstrating the relative importance of exports and reasons for lagging growth, and multiple studies focused on the linkage between freight facilities and economic development.

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Western Mass Rail Initiatives – Analysis and Strategic Planning

Having played a lead role in the feasibility study and federal funding application for the Knowledge Corridor (which relocated Amtrak service to the Connecticut River Line), Hodge Economic Consulting is working with regional leaders to assess potential rail improvements for Western Mass. read more

For the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) and Franklin Regional Council of Governments, Hodge is analyzing the detailed capital and operating costs, ridership, and revenue of a planned pilot service that would extend more rail service north from Springfield to Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield. This could mean up to 4 more roundtrip trains for the Valley in addition to the Vermonter. He is closely involved in providing briefings to state and U.S. legislative leaders, coordinating with MassDOT, and writing project summaries and related materials to help support this project initiative slated for 2018. In a separate but similar effort, he is working with PVPC and the Capital Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) in Hartford, CT to assess the benefits, costs, ridership, funding, and service level options of the long-planned Inland Route service that would greatly improve the rail connection from Boston to Springfield, and continue south to New Haven and New York.

Massachusetts State Freight and Rail Plans

While at HDR, Dan was the deputy project manager and lead economist for a project to develop the Massachusetts State Freight and Rail Plan for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). read more

The primary purpose of the Plan was to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the Commonwealth’s freight transportation system, its operations and its effect on economic development and quality of life. This analysis includes a thorough review of the Commonwealth’s freight transportation infrastructure; the freight sector’s operations and demands on the transportation system; state, regional, national and international freight trends and influences; a comprehensive commodity flow analysis; the freight sector’s strengths, opportunities and challenges; and a policy and investment agenda for state government, local government, and private industry. The Plan also included the preparation of a comprehensive, standalone State Rail Plan.
This plan developed a comprehensive set of performance measures and evaluation criteria to help the state prioritize freight and rail investment and policy strategies. In particular, Dan guided a detailed benefit-cost assessment of multi-modal freight investment strategies and passenger rail alternatives to help determine near-term and long-term investment priorities and potential public-private partnership opportunities. Dan also led the development of a series of policy recommendations related to land use development, funding and financing, truck operations and regulations, and passenger rail initiatives. A direct outcome of these plans was the creation of a new industrial rail access program (IRAP) now its 3rd year of implementation by MassDOT.

Freight Logistics Study for Northeast Ohio

For the Greater Cleveland Partnership, as part of a team led by Kleinhenz Associates, Hodge Economic Consulting helped lead an analysis of the Northeast Ohio freight logistics system in terms of freight flows, key industries, and the opportunities and challenges for the region. read more

Specifically, Hodge led a commodity flow analysis using FHWA’s Freight Analysis Framework data for the region, compiling data on freight flows by tonnage and value, by commodity, by mode, and shipping patterns (origins, destinations, internal). He also led an analysis of freight transportation sectors in the region, as well as freight-dependent industries. For example, he found that despite years of decline in manufacturing, Northeast Ohio still maintains a solid concentration in this very freight-dependent mode, but that the region is under-represented in distribution center and wholesale trade companies, reflecting some of the infrastructure and broader supply chain challenges of the region.

Economic and Transportation Drivers for Siting Freight Intermodal and Warehouse Distribution Facilities

For the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP), Dan was deputy project manager and a lead author of a research study on the economic and transportation drivers for siting freight logistics facilities. read more

While economic development strategies have tended to focus on high-tech, service-based opportunities in recent years, freight-intensive industry activities remain a critical component of today’s economy. Thus, the needs of varying facilities in terms of site requirements, transportation connectivity, market access, and workforce should be understood by local, state, and federal policy-makers to ensure successful private sector opportunities. This research study examined the goods movement and supply chain dynamics of freight facilities, as well as researching the key site selection criteria used for locating freight facilities. The study defined a categorization of freight facilities: warehouse and distribution centers; bulk or transload facilities; intermodal rail terminals; inland ports; integrated logistics centers; and hub and city terminals for trucking operations.
Dan supported the entire study effort with specific responsibility for conducting a case study of each type of freight facility in terms of typical size, jobs, infrastructure needs, and specific site selection criteria. Case studies included the Virginia Inland Port, the Rickenbacker intermodal facility, the Alliance (TX) Global Logistics Park, and private sector warehouse, distribution, and trucking facilities around the country.

Knowledge Corridor Rail Study – Economic Development and Benefit-Cost Analysis

For the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC), Dan led the economic analysis for a feasibility study of restoring and enhancing passenger rail along the Connecticut River into Vermont, with new/improved stations in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield. read more

A critical element of this study was an economic development market analysis focused on revitalization and transit-oriented development (TOD) opportunities in the Pioneer Valley. The economic and land use development analysis for the PVPC included: a) a series of interviews with local development experts in all four station cities to gather detailed data on development opportunities and land use; b) Collected economic and land use data and constructed an economic impact modeling framework that accounts for the level of rail service, distance from the station, vacant and underutilized sites by for commercial and residential uses, and growth forecasts; and c) a risk analysis workshop with local and regional stakeholders to review all key economic modeling assumptions, incorporating low to high risk factors for all elements of uncertainty to more comprehensively estimate most likely impacts.
Dan also led the benefit-cost analysis which helped define the prioritization for future service levels and authored the executive summary. Dan was a major contributor to the successful funding application through the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) stimulus program. The project received $70 million for corridor and station enhancements, and is currently operating on the revitalized rail corridor.

New York-New Jersey Cross Harbor Rail Tunnel EIS

For the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), Dan led the analysis of regional economic impacts of a proposed rail freight tunnel from New Jersey to New York City. read more

The approach included rail and truck cost savings estimation, land use analysis to assess development potential, regional economic modeling, and benefit/cost analysis.