Policymakers have a responsibility to recognize the vital relationship between economies and freight, and it is imperative that national policies reflect the domestic and global environments in which megaregions must now compete. The United States lacks a national freight strategy and most metropolitan areas fail to implement comprehensive trade strategies or incorporate freight elements into their comprehensive plans, indicating a disconnect between policy and practice. In this analysis we eschew typical national-level trade perspectives and instead focus on the world’s primary economic units, metropolitan areas, to understand trade and industry clusters that support megaregion economies.
This research will explore the freight planning challenges faced by one emerging megaregion, the US Gulf Coast. It will assess the disparate strategies for economic development and discuss the implications of the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century Act’s (MAP-21) requirement for the United States’ first ever national freight plan.