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473700-00068-1 Report Abstract

Transportation Challenges and Issues Facing Rural Texas: A Methodology to Prioritize Rural Transportation Needs

Jolanda Prozzi and Robert Harrison, University of Texas at Austin, September 2007, 56 pp. (473700-00068-1)

Over the past two decades, changes in transportation demand of agriculture and rural industry have interacted with the deregulation of the transportation sector.  This has resulted in the abandonment both of the regulation of truck rates and competition, and of many rural rail links that were deemed inefficient.  Agricultural industrialization and the move towards applying market principles to guide production decisions have had a profound impact on rural transportation infrastructure.  Together with strategic rail decisions to terminate inefficient services, these changes have resulted in larger and heavier truck hauling agricultural products over longer distances on pavements and bridges that were not constructed to withstand these loads.  Clearly there is a need to better understand the strategic challenges and issues as well as the critical role that transportation plays in promoting competitive agriculture and a vibrant rural economy.  The objectives of this project were to (a) explore the rural agriculture / industry-transportation relationship, (b) provide information on major rural stakeholder, industry, and trucking views, (c) highlight the factors that result in greater demands on rural roads from the perspective of the Texas Department of Transportation, (d) present a methodology to prioritize rural transportation needs in transportation planning decisions, and (e) list a number of policy options to address rural transportation concerns.

Keywords: Rural Truck Traffic, Pavement Impacts, Big Boxes, Edge Urbanization

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 276 KB)