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Box B: Mileage Calculation for the Commodity Flow Survey

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Box B: Mileage Calculation for the Commodity Flow Survey

A critical measurement, calculated from the CFS data, is the mileage traveled by each shipment, used in estimating modal ton-miles of freight. BTS developed an innovative software tool, called GeoMiler,1 to calculate the distance traveled by mode from origin to destination of any given shipment for which valid and consistent information was provided by the CFS respondent. If for any reason modal mileage calculations are not obtainable for a given shipment, GeoMiler sets pre-arranged codes that explain the problem(s) for possible correction. This new tool for distance estimation uses Geographic Information System (GIS) technology and a robust spatial data network to create a unique and effective routing tool.

1 A detailed explanation of the development of GeoMiler may be found in BTS Technical Report TR – 001, How Freight Moves: Estimating Mileage and Routes Using an Innovative GIS Tool, June 2007, authored by Stephen M. Lewis and Felix Ammah-Tagoe.