Trade, Freight and Economic Development in Appalachia

Author(s): Dan Hodge and Marissa Witkowski
Author Organization(s): HDR Decision Economics, Boston, MA

This 2012 research report, commissioned by the Appalachian Regional Commission presents information related to goods movement, trade, freight volumes and the economic impact of the Appalachian Development Highway System (ADHS), a 3,090-mile interstate highway system composed of 31 individual corridors.  The ADHS was designed to stimulate socioeconomic development throughout the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) by linking Appalachia to external markets. One of the goals of the system is to provide better trade linkages into, out of, and through Appalachia supporting U.S. economic competitiveness and enhancing the economy of Appalachia.  Built to enhance the flow of commerce and open isolated areas to economic opportunity, the ADHS also improves commuting and the delivery of key social services to residents.

Freight movement in the U.S. contributes to the nation’s economy, security, and quality of life.  The demand for freight transportation has been increasing, primarily due to growth in international trade.  This report leverages and highlights freight-related findings and results from previous studies and presents an analysis of international trade data based on the PIERS data set.  Using data on international trade exports from Appalachian companies, the report details the value of exports generated by sub-regions within Appalachia along with the jobs and economic development contribution of freight in Appalachia.