As a major urban area with an active port, the New Orleans metro region has a network of nationally significant highway infrastructure carrying freight. Major East-West routes such as I-10 and I-12 accommodate substantial truck traffic. In fact, nearly 25% of all vehicles traveling on I-10 near the New Orleans CBD are trucks. This has a significant impact on passenger travel, as the size and slower acceleration of trucks have a disproportionately large impact on roadway congestion as well as CO2 emissions.

To plan effectively for the mobility of both goods and passengers, the Regional Planning Commission develops plans in consultation with local and state officials, community members, and other stakeholders. Planning for the infrastructure needs of freight and passenger movement requires the integration of various facilities to create an operational network, which include – the Interstate System, the National Highway System, the National Highway System (NHS) Intermodal Connectors, locally designated truck routes and locally owned roads.

Working in tandem with the Interstate and National Highway Systems, NHS Intermodal Connectors are the critical links that join these systems to major terminuses. Generally, NHS Intermodal Connectors are the last mile of roadway into ports, commercial airports, intercity bus, interstate or international ferries, pipeline facilities, and freight and passenger rail terminals. The number of trucks moving to and from terminals is the primary criteria for designating NHS Intermodal Connectors. Additional information about federal criteria for designation of an intermodal connector can be found in Title 23 CFR 470, subpart A, Appendix D.

Typically, for a roadway to receive federal funds for maintenance, expansion, or other improvements it must be classified on the federal aid highway network or considered regionally significant. Numerous projects in the Transportation Improvement Program at the RPC reflect the concerns of truck freight stakeholders to improve access, efficiency and safety, ease congestion or preserve the roadway network. The Louisiana Motor Transport Association represents motor carrier interests on the Regional Planning Transportation Policy Board.

Studies include:

New Orleans Regional NHS Connector Evaluation (2010)

The National Highway System Intermodal Connectors, designated in 1998 in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, account for "the last mile" of freight movement near intermodal terminals. Freight connectors are the public roads that connect major intermodal terminals to the highway network, such as the transfer of freight from rail to truck. In the late 1990's, RPC utilized the NHS's survey tool to assess major problems and deficiencies on New Orleans' intermodal connectors which will provide a baseline for comparison of 2010 needs. This report summarizes the findings and identifies a range of transportation system difficulties at or near the connectors.

Clearview Parkway Feasibility Study (2008)

The study analyzed existing conditions and potential changes to improve vehicle movements on Clearview Parkway between I-10 and E. Corporate Ave. Among the proposed improvements to this corridor are three potential strategies to redesign the intersection of Clearview Parkway and Airline Highway. The RPC will begin the environmental review process for this project in late 2010.

LA 23 Corridor Improvement Study (2006)

This feasibility study determined the potential for improvement of the LA 23 corridor in Jefferson and Plaquemines Parishes. Widening of LA 23 from Lapalco Blvd. to Engineers Rd. was recommended, and the RPC is currently conducting an environmental review for that project.

LA 21 (Boston Street) Traffic Signal Improvement Project (2010)

This project includes recommendations for improving traffic signal operation on LA 21 (Boston St.) through downtown Covington. The project incorporates signal fixtures and light poles that are aesthetically appropriate for historic Covington. The RPC is currently working with LADOTD, St. Tammany Parish, and the City of Covington to implement the project.

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