Understanding Goods Movement: Trends and Best Practices

Project Summary


In Progress

Research Area

Goods Movement

Responsible Council / Committee

Urban Transportation Council / Transportation Planning and Research Standing Committee

Project Funding Partners

Metrolinx; Regional Municipality of Peel, Ville de Montréal; Ministry of Transportation, Ontario; Ministère des Transports du Québec; Alberta Transportation; Saskatchewan Highways and Transportation; City of Winnipeg

Project Category

Municipal / Urban
Submission Deadline: 
January, 2018

Staff Contact


Despite the significant impact of goods movement on the road system and on the economy, there is a need to raise awareness and understanding of how goods are transported in urban areas and how to best plan for goods movements. There is a widely acknowledged gap in the training and education of urban and transportation planners, engineers, and other professionals on the subject of goods movement. Sharing best practices and learning how to best engage the goods movement industry in planning, engineering and policy development would benefit many professionals and it would provide a forum for discussing anticipated future trends.  It would also enhance understanding of the issues that have an impact on the industry and how they interface with the needs of other road users as well as how innovative approaches can address those issues.

The major project objectives are to:

  • gather and prepare  a synthesis of information about goods movement in Canada to advance the understanding of goods movement issues by industry and government stakeholders; including transportation professionals
  • develop and share best practices and strategies for consulting with all transportation users involved in  goods movement, including road, rail, marine and air freight users;
  • raise awareness among stakeholders about the importance of goods movement, its significance to the transportation network, regional  economies , and issues facing the industry; and
  • develop approaches for ensuring that future planning and related activities reflect the importance of goods movement and adequately address issues facing freight activities, access to consumer goods, and other issues such as safety and environmental sustainability

Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include: 

  • Review and analysis of relevant information required to present a comprehensive overview of goods movement to best advance the understanding of the subject. At a minimum, the following should be reviewed:
    • Best practices and case studies from various provinces, regions, and municipalities in Canada and around the world with a focus on finding recommendations, i.e. what is recommended to be done in certain situations
    • Emerging trends in the goods movement industry
    • Challenges and risks experienced by different stakeholders
    • Planning principles that support or impact goods movement
    • Engineering principles and theories in the field of freight transportation
  • Development of a document that can be used to present information to the public, industry stakeholders, planning professionals, and decision-makers in a succinct, educational approach
  • Design of graphics and other visual communication elements that complement the key messages developed for the course textbook and/or presentation.

The project deliverables will be a synthesis of best practices and key issues, as well as course curriculum, related materials and delivery notes.