The process of developing a comprehensive Freight and Rail Plan can be summarized in four steps:
Step 1 –Background data of all freight modes and inventory of the system is collected. Understanding the current status of the Missouri’s transportation system will help identify and establish Missouri’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges for the future.
Step 2 – After all information is gathered, a vision for the future can begin to take shape. Future forecasts for all freight modes are generated, transportation needs are identified, and investment strategies begin to be developed, but not determined. Ways to calculate if investments are doing what they intended, known as performance measures, also begin to take shape. It is at this step when stakeholder feedback is most important.
Step 3 –A numbers-based, data-driven process will determine how to prioritize investments across all modes of freight and passenger rail. Because there are limited financial resources and no shortage of worthwhile projects, prioritization must occur in order for Missouri to get the biggest return on investments.
Step 4 – The Statewide Freight and Rail Plan is being written during every step described above, however the final step is a call to action. This step identifies how to achieve the vision that is documented in the plan.
The Missouri Freight and Rail Plan contains the most recent performance-based data, which provides a comprehensive overview of Missouri’s freight portfolio from the past and present. The data is then used to identify opportunities to build a resilient, prosperous freight network of the future. The performance-based data along with stakeholder and partner input will prioritize the recommendations for investments that come out of the Freight and Rail Plan.