The Birmingham 2035 Regional Transportation Plan creates the setting for a multimodal and intermodal transportation network that efficiently moves people and goods throughout the region. Effective freight movement is a key component of the region's economic competitiveness and the overall health and efficiency of our regional transportation system.
In 2010, the Birmingham Area MPO formed a Freight Advisory Committee to help the MPO better understand the impact freight will have on the Birmingham metropolitan area. The focus from the beginning has been to take action on freight improvements through relationship-building among the private sector, public sector, regional and super-regional interests.
The Birmingham Area MPO's freight planning program is designed to work with the freight community in order to identify and coordinate both opportunities and strategies for the safe and efficient movement of goods to enhance the region's economic vitality. Establishing and maintaining these partnerships are crucial to the effective planning of freight transportation needs.
To facilitate collaboration between these multiple modes, the Birmingham MPO hosts quarterly Freight Forums.
Freight Forums allow representatives of these various logistics sectors to have a discussion with MPO planners regarding issues and opportunities relevant to their operations. The Freight Forums are also important because they help the MPO to establish and develop relationships with freight interests in the region and aids them with integrating into the metropolitan planning process, educating them about current and upcoming MPO activities. The Freight Forums also help the MPO to achieve some key objectives, these being:
- Collection of base freight data that will support an ongoing regional freight planning function.
- Identification of specific freight needs and challenges facing the Birmingham region.
- Development of transportation planning solutions that address needs and facilitate efficient freight movement within, to, from and through the Birmingham metropolitan planning area.
- Prioritization of short, medium and long-term improvement projects. and
- Development of a regional consensus on the priority of freight related programs and projects