Freight Analysis Framework Version 3 (FAF3)

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)
Office of Operations, Federal Highway Administration
Goals and Objectives: 

Strategic analysis and forecasting of national multimodal freight movements for the United States


Multi-dimensional log-linear modeling of missing data elements within the US Commodity Flow Surveys, and use of input-output (I-O) model “Make” and “Use” Tables within a multi-sourced data integration exercise. Forecasts based on I-O model based estimates of future, location specific industrial activity.  Use of stochastic equilibrium assignment modeling to assign truck flows to the U.S. highway network and to forecast future high volume corridor flows.  

            Figure 1. Overview of the FAF3 Freight Flow Matrix Construction Process

Overview and Description: 

The Freight Analysis Framework (FAF) integrates data from a variety of sources to create a comprehensive picture of freight movements among states and major metropolitan areas by all modes of transportation. With data from the 2007 Commodity Flow Survey and additional sources, FAF version 3 (FAF3) provides estimates for tonnage, value, and domestic ton-miles by region of origin and destination, commodity type, and mode for 2007, the most recent year, and forecasts through 2040. Also included are state-to-state flows for these years plus 1997 and 2002, summary statistics, and flows by truck assigned to the highway network for 2007 and 2040.

The FAF3 Origin-Destination-Commodity-Mode (ODCM) flow modeling approach is based on using the data reported in the US Commodity Flow Surveys (CFS) to the greatest extent, supplemented by additional fright flow data and modeling to fill in the movements of those industry/commodity movements not covered by the CFS.  

Spatial Detail: 

Freight movements between 123 internal to the US and 8 foreign analysis zones. (f74 metropolitan area determined regions, 33 regions made up of state remainders, representing a state‘s territory outside these metropolitan regions, and 16 regions identified as entire states, within which no FAF Version 3 metropolitan regions exist). See Figure 2.
                                                                     Figure 2. FAF3 Geography



Mode Detail: 

Truck, Rail, Air (Includes Truck-Air), Water, Pipeline, Multiple Modes & Mail, Other & Unknown.

Commodity Detail: 

Based on the 43 SCTG 2-digit commodity classes reported by the 2007 U.S. Commodity Flow Survey.

                                        Figure 3.  FAF3 Mode and Commodity Classes


Used by federal government to assess strategic freight traffic volumes, dollar trades, and associated infrastructure needs; and by State DOT’s and selected larger MPOs as a source of external freight movements into, out of and through their state, and as regional control totals on within-state commodity flow model outputs.

System Platform: 

ORNL workstation-based, using Fortran, C, Excel and other software languages.

Data Sources: 

•    US Commodity Flow Surveys
•    Railcar Waybills
•    Waterborne Commerce Statistics
•    Transborder Freight Data
•    PIERS Import/Export Data (special FAF3 tabulation)
•    U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis’ (BEA) Input-Output “Use and Make” Tables
•    ORNL Multimodal U.S. and North American Freight Networks
•    Highway Performance Monitoring System AADT and AADTT Counts
•    Numerous additional commodity specific datasets (see documentation)

Example Inputs & Outputs: 

Inputs: Multimodal commodity flow data, highway, rail and waterway network data, import, export trades and vehicle and vessel based border crossing data, highway traffic count data, national input-output use and make tables, county level economic activity and forecast data.

Outputs: Origin-Destination-Commodity-Modal (ODCM) freight matrices in annual tons, annual dollar values, and annual ton-miles, and highway network link assigned truck movement patterns, in the form of base year 2007 estimates, annual updates, and five year interval forecasts out to year 2040.


                                 Figure 4. Principal FAF3 Data Products

User Manual/User Interface: 

The FAF3 O-D_C_M data tabulation tool can be accessed at:

The highway network database and truck and mixed traffic flow assignment results can be downloaded at: