Pathways to Increasing California Freight System Efficiency
Scope of Work
This project reviews recent freight system literature and practices and identifies research and operational opportunities that can improve California freight system efficiency and competitiveness while reducing climate-change and criteria-pollutant emissions. Focusing primarily on freight system sectors and technologies within CARB’s regulatory ambit, the contractor will inventory research needs, operational adaptations and regulatory policies with the greatest potential to improve freight system efficiency (FSE) in California.
The contractor will take a fresh look at freight system research and experience emerging from: the evolving e-commerce marketplace; “last-mile” pick-up and delivery; innovative freight delivery technologies, inter-fleet, intra-fleet, intermodal and cross-border logistical optimization; perishable goods supply-chain management; and related efforts to mitigate adverse environmental and economic impacts on priority communities and populations.
The freight system is a large, vital part of California’s economy and must respond both to growing demand for freight transportation services and intensifying competition to supply those services. New regulations, technological change and shifting market forces triggered by the COVID pandemic, are re-shaping the demand and supply sides of California’s freight industry in unforeseen ways. Vehicles, fuels, logistical systems and fleet management technologies are in flux, creating new challenges and opportunities for improving FSE. California’s freight system is also a major source of both criteria-pollutant and climate-change emissions targeted by health-based federal air quality standards and state climate change mitigation goals.
Increased system efficiency is needed to enable California’s freight industry to meet these combined challenges. Governor Jerry Brown’s Executive Order B-32-15 (July 2015) directed an interagency task force to develop an action plan to improve California’s FSE while increasing competitiveness and reducing environmental impacts. The action plan was accompanied by a series of white papers focusing on freight efficiency strategies. Assembly Bill 74 (2019) budgeted funds for the University of California to study the transition to zero-emission heavy vehicles, the adoption of other technologies to significantly reduce emissions from heavy vehicles, as well as strategies for reducing vehicle miles traveled. The contractor will review these and all similar research efforts, both recent and ongoing, to identify potential strategies for improving California FSE, as well as additional research needed to evaluate those strategies.
Scope of Work
The contractor will review and summarize recent literature and industry practice related to FSE across all transportation modes and industry sectors, including warehousing and storage. The literature review will be supplemented by interviews with subject experts including researchers, industry executives and state agency staff. Among those interviewed will be the authors of the white paper series cited above.
The contractor will develop a comprehensive inventory of FSE strategies and briefly characterize each strategy’s potential environmental, social and economic impacts. A system of categorizing and prioritizing strategies will be devised by the contractor. The inventory will include any technology, practice or policy with the potential to increase FSE and reduce climate-change and/or criteria-pollutant emissions relative to ongoing baseline FSE strategies. The scope of the efficiency inventory will include, but not be limited to:
- Congestion mitigation;
- Operational modernization at distribution nodes;
- Maximizing freight system asset utilization;
- Data and information system improvements;
- Intermodal transport/logistical services;
- Implications of transportation system decarbonization
- International ports of entry;
- Pick-up and delivery (PnD) fleets and last-mile delivery;
- The role of light-duty vehicles in the freight system;
- Supply chain management for agriculture and perishable goods;
- FSE metrics and policy pathways to enhanced efficiency;
- Freight system infrastructure investment for optimal FSE;
- Financing strategies for FSE-optimizing infrastructure investments;
- Environmental sustainability and impacts of FSE improvements;
- Economic and competitive impacts of FSE improvements;
- Clean equipment/technology uptake obstacles and incentives;
- Social costs and benefits, including equity impacts, of enhancing FSE as freight system growth continues.
The contractor will analyze and synthesize FSE literature findings in a narrative discussion. Topics highlighted in this discussion will include freight system performance and efficiency in the face of abrupt or persistent changes in demand for freight services (e.g., the pandemic-driven e-commerce surge); interaction of FSE strategies with long-term transport system decarbonization; infrastructure investment for maximum FSE under environmental and social constraints; and on the health benefits or burdens of FSE, particularly in priority communities. The contractor will provide the context and main findings through a plain-language policy brief for the public.
Based on the foregoing assessment of FSE strategies, the contractor will identify FSE research needs and summarize the implications of recommended FSE strategies for extant and future state regulatory and incentive programs.
- Quarterly Progress Reports and phone calls including public-facing updates posted to CARB’s website
- Informal biweekly progress update meetings with CARB contract manager
- Draft white paper
- Final white paper
- Peer-reviewed publications should aim to be open-access (budget appropriately)
- Include equity implications
- Work with CARB to create plain-language deliverables for the public (in multiple languages and formats)
- In-person or virtual seminar (pending health requirements);
- Presentation summarizing findings at a minimum of two community meetings
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 12 months from the start date. The budget for this white paper should not exceed $25,000.
In order to increase transparency of how winning pre-proposals are chosen, scoring criteria have been included for each project. Please note that scoring criteria is tailored to each project included in CARB's fiscal year 2021-2022 solicitation. If you are submitting pre-proposals for more than one project in the solicitation, please be sure to review the scoring criteria to get a better understanding of what components of the project are most valued for selection.
- Responsiveness to the Goals and Objectives Outlined in the Proposal Solicitation(15 points) Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project, and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The draft proposal must propose work that would satisfy the objective(s) stated in the Research Solicitation: comprehensive inventory of FSE strategies and briefly characterize each strategy’s potential environmental, social and economic impacts.
- POLICY RELEVANCE/BENEFITS TO THE STATE(10 points) – Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission? This includes informing mobile source strategies for 2022 and future freight regulations.
- PREVIOUS WORK (10 points) – Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB and other state agencies?
- EXPANDING EXPERTISE (10 points) – Does the team bring in new talent that has not worked with CARB previously? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Researchers new to CARB are encouraged to apply and partner with multidisciplinary teams.
- TECHNICAL MERIT (25 points) - Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. Please factor in how well the draft proposal describes these areas:
- Strategy to identify and synthesize the relevant literature.
- Ability to meet the deliverables of the SOW, including creating public-facing policy briefs and updates.
- The review team will be selecting only one draft proposal for development into a full proposal. If this draft proposal has potential, what areas or topics should be prioritized or better explained in the full proposal?
- LEVEL AND QUALITY OF EFFORT TO BE PROVIDED (15 points) – Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as research, evaluation and analysis, data reduction, computer simulation, report preparation, meetings, and travel?
- COST EFFECTIVENESS (15 points) - Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding will be evaluated more favorably.
Back to FY21-22 Solicitation Landing Page
 See California Sustainable Freight Action Plan (CSFAP).
 March, 2016 FREIGHT EFFICIENCY STRATEGIES: A White Paper Series to Inform the California