News | METRANS Launches the Freight Futures Initiative

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by Kevin Argueta

METRANS has launched the Freight Futures Initiative (FFI) to foster collaborative research and workforce development. The new initiative is aimed at achieving an efficient, competitive, and sustainable freight system in California. This initiative comes as California's freight system faces many challenges: national and international competition in international trade; congestion and reliability problems at ports, airports, border crossings, and on the highway system; growing costs of compliance with state and local GHG and pollution reduction targets; lack of data on freight movements, particularly at the sub-regional level; and attracting and training the next generation workforce. The Freight Futures Initiative will convene universities, government, and industry partners to contribute to a better understanding of California’s challenges and seek collaborative solutions for addressing them.


The Freight Futures Initiative builds upon METRANS' expertise in goods movement research, education, and outreach. It takes advantage of METRANS’ multidisciplinary research strength, growing portfolio in training and workforce development, and partnerships throughout California. FFI will conduct research and development in the areas of advanced technology and sustainable freight systems. Moving the research to implementation will be enhanced by tests and demonstrations. To address the data problem, FFI is building an archive for sub-regional freight data. The archive will be a resource for monitoring freight system performance and conducting research at the sub-regional level.


The FFI training and workforce development program will research and track the ever-changing workforce needs of the industry, attract the next-generation workforce, build the skill set of the existing workforce, and develop state-of-the-art education programs. Part of the training will be aimed at decision-makers who can influence California’s freight policies.


"This new initiative aspires to create a collaborate program amongst researchers, agencies and industry leaders that influences the framework for an enhanced freight system," explains Dr. Genevieve Giuliano, Director of METRANS. To achieve this, METRANS invites the academic community, industry, and the interested public to identify research and development needs, identify workforce development and training needs, provide data, serve as advisors on research projects, and fund research and workforce development projects.