91 Percent of Truck Traffic In NYC Region Serves Region

During Presentation at Baruch College, Christopher Ward, Port Authority Discusses Research that Supports the Overhaul of Regional Freight Distribution; Congestion Costs Region About $13 Billion Annually

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New York, NY, June 23, 2010Baruch College’s Newman Real Estate Institute today welcomed Christopher Ward, Executive Director of The Port Authority of NY & NJ, for a public presentation on the challenges of freight distribution in the New York City metro region. In his presentation titled “Freight and Our Region’s Future: A Call to Action,” Mr. Ward discussed the need to create a reliable, sustainable freight distribution system to better meet the economic needs of the area over the next 25 years.

While noting that expanded use of the area’s railroads will help relieve some vehicle congestion, Mr. Ward cautioned that railroad alone won’t solve the entire congestion problem as the vast majority of trucks in the area are moving goods and freight to serve the area. Other statistics referenced during the presentation indicate that, unless systemic changes are implemented, the future of the NYC region will be defined by “peak” traffic throughout the day:
• Truckload freight is expected to grow by 39% from 2010 to 2035; vehicle hours of delay are anticipated to climb by 57% during the same period.
• Half of truckloads traveling on the region’s roadways move fewer than 78 miles and 80% travel within 222 miles, limiting the potential for rail diversion.
• The peak hour for inbound truck volumes has shifted from 8 – 9 a.m. in 1984 to approximately 5 – 6 a.m. in 2008, reflecting drivers’ attempts to avoid the perceived “worst” traffic hour; the effect has been to extend rush hour.

Congestion has enormous consequences for the entire region, including: congestion costs the region an estimated $13 billion annually; pollution from heavy traffic is a public health menace that has been identified as a leading cause of asthma and other diseases; and clogged roads and highways leave drivers increasingly susceptible to accidents.

“The time has come for an integrated, comprehensive restructuring of our area’s fragmented system of moving freight in and out of the area,” said Mr. Ward. “Goods distribution is the number one challenge the New York metro area will face over the next 25 years; if we don’t confront it, we will be choked out of existence.”
Mr. Ward suggested several steps to take to meet these looming challenges, including:
• Improve highway network infrastructure and performance.
• Examine regional rail freight potential, including improvements to the existing freight rail float system and a freight rail tunnel between Greenville Yard and Brooklyn.
• Secure close-in sites for freight transfer/distribution for more efficient “last mile” travel in urbanized areas.
• Revive reliable cross harbor rail car float service and expand general waterborne transportation.
• Seek regional partnerships for truck emissions reduction.
• Coordinate regional trucking regulation.

“We must instill a sense of urgency in the public and among community and business leaders about the impending economic crisis our area faces unless we respond creatively and collaboratively to the problem of freight distribution,” said Jack Nyman, Director of the Steven L. Newman Institute of Real Estate at Baruch College and sponsor of today’s event. “Working together and incorporating the suggestions put forward today we can ensure a robust economy for our region supported by a healthier, sustainable system of commerce.”

CONTACT: Jennifer Pauly;
                646-660-6129;
                Jennifer.pauly@baruch.cuny.edu