Freight Movement

The Middle Tennessee region has historically been a logistical hub that benefits tremendously from goods movements and its associated infrastructure. Dense transportation infrastructure and a location in close proximity to multiple metropolitan areas has the region well positioned to continue to use its geographical location, existing infrastructure, and history of manufacturing to prosper economically.

The Nashville Area MPO has spent more than a decade conducting a number of studies that examine the importance of goods movement for our region, our economy, and our people. These studies help us to better understand what freight and goods movement looks like in our region, where it’s headed, and how we can optimize it to enhance our economic potential and quality of life.

Vision for Freight in Middle Tennessee

To ensure economic prosperity for our region, job opportunities for our residents, safety and reliability on our roadways, and a continued improvement in quality of life for our communities, the Middle Tennessee region must coordinate freight planning with other efforts to attract manufacturing, logistics, and industrial growth while minimizing negative impacts on surrounding communities and citizens.


Strategies for Improving Freight Movement

Implement a regional truck network


By pursuing these activities, the Middle Tennessee region has the opportunity to increase connectivity to and from major freight generators, improve coordination between local and regional planning and economic development activities, and increase the quality of life of those living in the region. For more information
click here.


The tonnage of freight is expected to grow 92 percent by 2040, to approximately 148.9 million tons inbound and outbound. This does not include through freight movements, which account for approximately two-thirds of current truck travel (115 million tons). Truck travel does and will continue to be the predominant mode by which freight moves.

Beyond this, 2040 projected rail volumes show that several rail lines will also experience significant levels of congestion. Without improvement in the operational performance of Middle Tennessee's freight networks, congestion will increase significantly over the long-term horizon. This will add costs to the regional supply chain and increase the cost of purchasing goods by residents along with increasing the cost of doing business for the region's manufacturers.

More information on our previous freight planning efforts can be found here.





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National Professional Organizations:

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Research and Academia:

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