As society shifts in shape and priorities, so must the infrastructure that moves its goods. The complex decision making processes that will ultimately build a sustainable, economically robust, 21st-century infrastructure demands a transformed method of interaction between industry, government and community.
The North American Freight Forum, and its drivetrain, Intelliconference, is an innovative multi-stakeholder dialogue system which serves as roundtable for multiple freight transportation stakeholders to think, plan and act together.
The Intelliconference is a consciously moderated process, that first guides participants through an exploration of commonalities. The result of that exploration provides a more useful foundation for participants to then analyze their points of contention. Such interactions lay bare the dilemmas that gridlock our present planning systems, and inspire opportunities for leveraging the group’s collective intelligence to design ground-breaking solutions together. Intelliconference’s output are action plans, supported by accountability deadlines.
Logistically speaking, Intelliconference offers unprecedented efficiency for its participants. All or most participation is online and asynchronous, negating the need for time and energy consuming travel.
To further help define this novel system of interaction, it may be useful to state what Intelliconference is NOT: The predictable trade show or conference, featuring classroom-model PowerPoint presentations — followed by lively dinner conversations that spark interesting or innovative thinking… All of which dissipates by the time everyone is working through their Monday morning emails.
The North American Freight Forum is built to turn those sparks of insight and refine them into a source of energy.
The North American Freight Forum is a collaborative project founded by Dan Elliott, former chairman of the Surface Transportation Board, and Michael Sussman, president of OTNA and Strategic Rail Finance.
Reliable data is the foundation of all effective 21st century infrastructure decision-making.
For too long, our nation has not reckoned with the long-term implications, both positive and negative, of major transportation infrastructure decisions. There has been no cohesive system-wide data development and collection effort, leaving legislators, planners and stakeholders to depend on narrowly focused or outdated datasets.
Congestion, climate change, and other environmental factors hasten the need for a rapid expansion of intelligent decision-making processes.
Triple Bottom Line Freight Data Bank Program Action Steps:
Gathering: Taking full inventory of existing data.*
Assessment: Convene representatives from all freight transportation perspectives to gauge the timeliness and value of each factor-set, and from that exercise, create a prioritized wish-list of data needed.
Commission: Gather funding and then commission the needed research.
Dissemination: Make data available for low cost to the nation’s infrastructure planners, including campaign to promote awareness of new data.
*OnTrackNorthAmerica and its advisors have already undertaken surveys of existing research literature.