RPC Honored for Freight Plan Designed to Improve Area Infrastructure and Business Opportunities

A green train sitting on train tracks

The Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (AMPO) has once again recognized the work being done at the RPC. At their recent annual conference, AMPO gave the RPC an Honorable Mention Award in the category of Outstanding Achievement for a non-TMA MPO for work done on the development of the Champaign-Urbana Region Freight Plan by the Champaign Urbana Urbanized Area Transportation Study (CUUATS). CUUATS is a program of the RPC.

A comprehensive freight mobility plan that effectively identifies the linkages between key freight infrastructure and the region’s economy, the plan envisions Champaign-Urbana as a vibrant region with a thriving economy thanks in part to safe, efficient, and reliable transportation connections. It also projects future freight commodity flows and includes attainable goals and data-driven performance measures. The RPC received letters of support for the AMPO Award application from, among others, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Champaign, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I applaud CUUATS’s effort to provide the University of Illinois with valuable insights on truck activities in the University District,” comments Stacey DeLorenzo, the Transportation Demand Management Coordinator with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “I believe the freight modeling effort as part of this project will expand our region’s capacity to forecast the movement of people and goods in the future and help local jurisdictions to make informed infrastructure decisions collectively.”

Through their innovative analysis of a wide range of freight mobility datasets, CUUATS is now one of only a handful of Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) in the nation to develop and implement a freight travel demand model in-house and integrate freight traffic into passenger travel forecasting. The Champaign-Urbana Region Freight Plan analyzed various freight mobility datasets that have not been commonly utilized by small or medium-sized MPOs, including 26 million truck GPS records. Utilizing these datasets and tools helped CUUATS gain a comprehensive picture of the different aspects of freight movement in the region and provided staff with strong support for evidence-based recommendations.

Champaign County Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Laura Weis was appreciative of CUUATS’s effort to actively engage area businesses and learn about their concerns and needs in relation to the area’s freight system. “I am hopeful that through implementing the recommendations proposed in the Champaign-Urbana Region Freight Plan collaboratively, more businesses will call the Champaign-Urbana region their home,” she says.

The Champaign-Urbana Region Freight Plan was funded by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and prepared by CUUATS staff in cooperation with Champaign County, the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, the Champaign County Economic Development Corporation, the City of Champaign, the City of Urbana, the Federal Highway Administration, IDOT Central Office/IDOT District 5, the Mid-West Truckers Association, the University of Illinois, and the Village of Savoy, among others.

AMPO is the transportation advocate for metropolitan regions and is committed to enhancing the abilities of MPO’s to improve metropolitan transportation systems across the country. The award was presented during their recent annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland. This is the fifth time since 2005 that CUUATS has been honored by AMPO for their work in a community or urbanized area with a population of less than 200,000 people.

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