Glossary

This glossary is provided to help you navigate the discussions on freight.

Backhaul
Return transportation movement, usually at less revenue than the original move; to move a shipment back over part of a route already traveled.
Bogie
A set of highway wheels built specifically to be used as rear wheels under the container. Also an overseas term for a railroad car “truck” or wheel assembly.
Bored Tunnel
A method for constructing a tunnel. A tunnel-boring machine drills through rock and compacted soil to create a bored tunnel.
Boxcar
An enclosed railcar, typically 40 to 50 feet long, used for packaged freight and some bulk commodities.
Breakbulk
To reduce a large shipment of a single commodity to many small shipments, which are then dispersed to various buyers.
Bulk Transfer Facility
A facility for transferring liquid or solid bulk commodities, such as petroleum or gravel, between transport modes, typically between rail and truck. (See also “Transloading”).
Carfloat
A barge with a railtrack fixed to the deck for carrying rail cars across a body of water. Typically, the carfloat is towed by a tugboat.
Chassis
A special trailer or undercarriage on which containers are moved over the road by truck.
Choice Model
Models are developed to help predict the amount of freight that could be diverted to alternative modes of freight transportation. After conducting a quantitative survey of shippers and receivers, the Project Team will develop a series of “demand curves” for each alternative mode of shipment. This demand depends on travel time, cost, reliability, commodity type, origin/destination and the current travel route. These findings are then compared to the service characteristics for the region to indicate the mode by which freight would move.
Classification Yard
A railroad terminal area where train units are assembled (as opposed to an intermodal yard).
Clean Air Act (CAA) of 1970
A United States law that created national air pollution standards. Under the regulations promulgated as the Clean Air Act, areas that do meet the clean air standards are classified as Non-Attainment Areas.
The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990
These regulations contain stringent and rigorously-defined legislative mandates for dealing with air quality and transportation issues in areas that have not attained the EPA-established National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
Commodity Flows
Data that describes the movement of goods. This information is used for transportation planning and decision-making.
C.O.F.C. (Container-on-Flatcar)
The transport of containers on railroad flatcars, either single-stack or double-stack.
Container
A box for transporting cargo, constructed with varying dimensions to withstand shipment conditions in transportation. (See "TEU").
Diversion
A shift from one transportation mode to another. For example, diversion can refer to the shift from goods moving by truck to goods moving by rail.
Double-Stack
A type of train service that utilizes two intermodal containers stacked one on top of another. This service requires a vertical clearance of 20'-6”.
Drayage
Transporting freight by truck, typically for short distances.
East-of-Hudson Sub-Region
To better analyze the movement of goods across the Hudson River, the New York region has been split into the West-of-Hudson sub-region and the East-of-Hudson sub-region. The East-of-Hudson sub-region is comprised of the five boroughs of New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn and Staten Island), Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, New York, mainland downstate counties (Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess) and Fairfield County in Connecticut.
Float Bridge
A bridge for rolling rail cars on and off carfloats to a railyard.
Freight Forwarder
An individual/company that accepts shipments and consolidates them into truckloads. An agent who helps expedite shipments by preparing necessary documents and making other arrangements for moving freight.
Immersed-Tube Tunnel
A method for constructing a tunnel involving laying pre-constructed tunnel sections in a deep trench dug in the bottom of a water body.
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
A generic term for advanced technology applications that provide real-time monitoring and information to enable the more efficient and safer use of transportation systems, such as highways.
Intermodal
As broadly defined within the commercial transportation industry, the transfer of freight between and among those modes involved in general cargo transportation (e.g., ship, rail and truck). This term is also commonly used to mean the movement of passengers between transportation modes (e.g., from train to bus).
Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA)
The landmark federal transportation legislation that implemented broad changes in transportation planning and funding. ISTEA and its successor, Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) of 1998, emphasize use of a diversity and balance of modes and the preservation of existing systems over the construction of new facilities, especially roadways.
Intermodal Yard
A rail facility designed to accommodate intermodal transfers with trucks and containers.
International Flows
Waterborne trips that have either an origin or destination in the region's port.
Interregional Flows
Trips that have either an origin or destination within a region.
Intra-regional Flows
Trips that have both an origin and destination within a region.
Just-in-Time Delivery (JIT)
A growing practice of minimizing warehousing costs by delivering goods for manufacturing, assembly or wholesale/retail replenishment. Refers to the growing premium placed on reliability, transit time and efficiency by the shipping industry.
Level of Service
A measure of the quality of operation of a transportation facility, with Level of Service ”A” being very good operation with few traffic delays, and Level of Service “F” being severely congested operation with significant traffic delays.
Major Investment Study
A federal process for identifying, evaluating and selecting transportation alternatives that address specific problems.
Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)
As specified in TEA-21 and ISTEA, a federally-mandated organization required to carry out the transportation planning process for urbanized area with a population of more than 50,000.
Modal Split
The relative use of the modes of transportation; the statistics used include ton-miles, passenger-miles and revenue.
Multimodal
Using more than one transportation mode to move a load of goods.
Pallet
A platform on which cargo is loaded, which can be stacked and be handled by forklift or sling, usually constructed of wood.
Piggyback
The hauling of road vehicles and containers on wheels or railroad flatcars.
Railhead
End of the railroad line or point in the area of operations at which cargo is loaded and unloaded.
Reefer (refrigerated container)
A specialized container that holds perishable goods at controlled temperatures.
Road Railer
A specialized truck chassis that either has retractable rail wheels or is lifted onto bogies that allows it to operate directly on rail.
Roll-on/Roll-off (ro/ro)
A specially constructed ship that allows cargo to be rolled in and out doors on wheeled loading devices or under the cargo's own propulsion, such as motor vehicles.
Selkirk Hurdle
The 280-mile detour necessary for a freight train to travel from New Jersey to New York City. Selkirk is located just south of Albany, New York, and is the closest freight rail bridge across the Hudson River to the New York/New Jersey/Connecticut region.
Surface Transportation Board (STB)
An independent adjudicatory body within the U.S. Department of Transportation that is responsible for the regulation of interstate surface transportation, primarily railroads.
Third-party Logistics Provider
An intermediary who manages the transportation or arranges the logistics for the movement of goods.
Through Flows
Trips that have neither an origin or destination within the region, but are simply passing through the region
TEU
Twenty-foot equivalent unit. A standard unit for counting containers of various lengths. One standard 40-foot container equals two TEU's.
T.O.F.C. (Trailer-on-Flatcar)
A transportation arrangement in which a truck trailer is moved by train to a destination. Also called “Piggybacking."
Trailer
The truck unit that carries freight in a tractor-trailer combination. Trailers are commonly seen as the cargo unit of an “18-wheeler” or five-axle “truck."
Transportation System Management (TSM)
Methods to improve the operation of a transportation system without expanding capacity.
Transloading
The practice of breaking (transferring) bulk shipments from the vehicle/container of one mode to that of another, at one or a series of terminal interchange points.
West-of-Hudson Sub-Region
To be able to better analyze the movement of goods across the Hudson River, the New York region has been split into the West-of-Hudson sub-region and the East-of-Hudson sub-region. The West-of-Hudson sub-region is comprised of the following counties in northern New Jersey: Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset, Union, Hunterdon, Warren, Morris, Essex, Hudson, Bergen, Passaic, Sussex, and the following counties in southwestern New York: Pike, Sullivan, Ulster, Orange and Rockland.

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