The nation's economy depends on the collective action of all stakeholders to maintain and enhance the freight transportation system within the context of safety and environmental concerns. Bold ideas have moved freight forward in the past, such as the domestic canals and railroads of the nineteenth century, the Panama Canal at the beginning of the twentieth century, containerization and the Interstate highway system starting at mid-century, and the establishment of nationwide, overnight delivery services in the last half of the twentieth century. Few would claim to see the next big idea with clarity, but most would agree that creative solutions, both large and small, are needed to keep goods moving and to meet the needs of the economy and the nation.
Freight Story 2008 provides a useful starting point for discussions on the freight transportation challenge and opportunities to improve system reliability and efficiency. Current responses to the freight challenge continue to evolve, and new responses are emerging through discussions of future directions for transportation policies and programs. All stakeholders are encouraged to contribute to these discussions and advance ideas through the Framework for a National Freight Policy.