The ability to plan and forecast freight demand to support transportation infrastructure investment decisions is limited by the lack of available data at a level of detail that is meaningful to the transportation planner.  This paper develops an initial methodology for developing Freight Analysis Zones (FAZs) at a sub-state level to facilitate use of the data from the Freight Analysis Framework 2 (FAF2) database and industry surveys. The FAF2 database is based upon the Commodity Flow Survey and is a comprehensive public freight knowledgebase.  However, with 114 zones nationwide (most states have one or two zones), the ability of a state or Metropolitan Planning Organization transportation planner to use the data without significant disaggregation is limited.  Currently, there is no consensus regarding the means to disaggregate the original FAF2 data.  This paper addresses this problem by developing a systematic method for partitioning a state into meaningful zones that support effective freight transportation planning and analysis.  The paper tests the application of FAZs to disaggregate freight data for use in a statewide by model through a case study in Alabama.  The paper concludes that FAZs can be effectively used without degrading the quality of the forecasts.

Developing Freight Analysis Zones at a State Level TRB