Land Freight Lifecycle Impact Tool

Typical benefit-cost analyses neglect many of the external costs of freight transportation. Moving toward a balanced, sustainable transport system requires a full accounting of the lifecycle costs of building, using, and maintaining highways and trucks, and railroads and trains, to move freight.

OnTrackNorthAmerica conceived and funded a next-generation research project that gathered the best available data for seventeen cost metrics. We present this unique data assemblage as a catalyst for further refinements and expansion to best inform infrastructure investments. At this critical moment, we must generate multidimensional returns to the business community, economy, environment, and quality of community life. Our sincere appreciation to the University of Tennessee’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering for implementing the global search and aggregation of the available data. Our tool can be used by infrastructure planners, government officials, private businesses, and citizens. By illuminating the full lifecycle costs of infrastructure design and investment choices, we hope to benefit all of society.

Please click on the image below to try out our tool. Enter the distance and weight, and it will calculate the lifecycle cost across these 17 metrics to move that freight by highway and by rail.

Land Freight Lifecycle Impact Calculator

It takes 2 steps to view the impact of a freight shipment:


1) Enter total distance traveled between the origin and destination.

2) Enter the total amount of freight in:


Results Statement:

Data Details

View all metrics or uncheck two boxes to view a single category

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