Regional Goods Movement

April 2013

The Houston-Galveston area's freight transportation systems, seaports, airports, intermodal facilities, and the waterways, highways, and rail corridors that connect them, are key elements of the national and international supply and distribution chain, providing gateways for domestic and international freight shipments and connecting those gateways with major markets in the United States and throughout the World. However, this vital transportation network is being stressed by continued growth in freight volumes, driven by increasing domestic and international trade and the growing populations and economies of Texas, in general, and Houston-Galveston region, in particular. This stress increasingly manifests itself in the form of capacity and congestion problems at key regional gateways, at important intermodal transfer facilities, and along critical highway and rail corridors. In addition, population growth is adding to the pressure on this already constrained infrastructure; it is becoming increasingly difficult to balance freight mobility needs with environmental, social, and financial concerns; there are rising infrastructure maintenance costs across all modes; and there is an increasing awareness that neither the public nor private sectors—acting independently—have the necessary resources to fully address rising transportation demands. Individually or collectively, these issues may erode the efficiency and productivity of the region’s transportation system, leading to economic implications that will reverberate locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.