Vision for Freight

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.

Regional Freight Vision
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2014 Freight Vision  Opens in new window

Strategies for Improving Freight Movement 

Implement a regional truck network 


  • Provide incentives for  freight and logistics companies to do business in Middle Tennesse
  • Improve the safety and  efficiency of local freight operations
  • Minimize the impact of heavy  truck movements on local communities
  • Shepherd pass-through truck travel through the  region

Optimize the location of rail operations


  • Better access to existing and potential customers within the region  
  • Improve safety and speed/efficiency of rail movements  
  • Help manage heavy truck movements throughout the region
  • Minimize conflicts with existing neighborhoods and emerging mixed-use development
  • Provide an increased opportunity for use of existing rail lines/ROW for public transit and TOD

Coordinate economic development and land-use decisions with planned investments  


  • Enhance Middle Tennessee’s attractiveness as a freight/logistics hub
  • Identify infrastructure-ready sites for industrial recruitment or expansion
  • Maximize locational efficiencies of industry clustering
  • Protect freight-intensive areas from incompatible land development/uses

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. 


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 an 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.