Research Archive

Freight Information Highway

The Freight Information Highway (FIH) will provide an opportunity for all trading partners and government agencies to communicate and acquire needed shipment information without the expense of constructing a data repository. Functioning as a Web Portal, the FIH will be a universal web services front-end including directory services linking each electronic message type, data element, and communication protocols, as defined by standards, as well as linked service architectures that allow each component to be accessed in real time with a user view tuned for that specific user community. The creation of such a concept of operations for the Freight Information Highway, which may result in operational deployment, presents opportunities for shippers, carriers, and government entities to leverage and coordinate key data elements and components that support their operation applications and improve efficiencies. These efficiencies include:

  • Advertised standards to promote collaboration, competition and avoid monopolistic control of the data. The implementation of standard methods for communicating the data so that competition is open but is also on a level playing field with the information providers. An information provider should be able to offer the same basic services as another to thread messages through the system that will allow all supply chain partners to be able to use them for business purposes and for government to use them as well. All stakeholders understand how to send/receive visibility data using the same dictionary and query tools.
  • Improved data integration processes by reducing connectivity nodes. The key concept is a "network of standards-based federated data connections" that supports any and all systems or users. This creates a private, universal directory of Web Services in support of improved shipment information and publishes efficient ways to integrate data from the service providers. The use of web services protocols will allow dynamic communications and component architectures to be leveraged while maintaining control of costs and system design. This drastically cuts costs for systems integration. No custom programming is required unless related to a value-added service.
  • Improved security with distributed access rights managed by each data provider but with a centralized authentication process. Data access rights management, biometrics, and other digital identity technologies will be used to facilitate the information flow between trading partners.
  • Creation of an open, competitive, in-transit visibility model will attract new investments that improve intermodal processes.

The diagram below illustrates the implementation of the FIH fully deployed.

Freight Information Highway diagram showing a framework of virtual connections allowing complete collaboration between supply chain partners

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