Program Description

The Freight Academy program was developed based upon the models of successful training programs in freight and other related fields throughout the United States. It consists of three components: pre-program review and assignment, a one-week immersion program, and a group Capstone project which is continued after the academy to further promote peer exchange. The Capstone Project findings are reviewed by mentor panels comprised of senior executives of The Eastern Transportation Coalition member organizations and past Freight Academy graduates.

The Freight Academy program complements the Federal Highway Administration’s Freight Professional Development Program (FPD).  The FPD offers a range of courses, workshops, seminars, and conferences for freight transportation and planning professionals.  Specific information can be found on FHWA’s web site at

Pre-Program Review and Assignment

Participants will be provided with a packet of background information related to the topics covered during the course of the Immersion Week program. The Immersion Week curriculum is based on the assumption that all participants have been exposed to freight topics and issues, and have a solid understanding of the information provided in the pre-program packet.

In the weeks leading up to the Freight Academy Immersion Week, each participant will be asked to create a freight profile of their region, using a template to be provided. The purpose of this assignment is to encourage participants to think specifically about the issues that their region is facing, and be able to consider the information they are gathering throughout the week in this context. Participants will submit their freight profile on the first day of the Immersion Week.

Immersion Week Program

The total immersion program includes the following mix of activities:

Formal Classroom Training

Formal classroom training, including lectures and panel discussions, will cover each of the major modes and players, including: shippers, ports, trucks, distribution centers, rail, and airports. These sessions will be taught by a group of experienced public sector agency staff and private sector professionals who will share firsthand knowledge of trends and issues relating to freight planning, policy and operations. The classroom sessions will be a mix of lecture and interactive discussions. The learning objectives will be provided at the beginning of each session, and reviewed with participants at the end.

Field Visits

During the course of the Immersion Week, participants will have the opportunity to visit a wide range of freight-related facilities. These will include a retail distribution center, a port terminal site, a cross dock location, a shipper distribution center, and an airport. Before each visit participants will meet with operators of each facility to learn about daily operations, trends, issues, and other freight system impacts and issues. Participants will be expected to incorporate observations from these visits into their Capstone projects.

Capstone Project

During the Immersion Week: Participants will be assigned to a capstone project group (of 5 to 6 participants), and presented with a project assignment. Capstone projects will focus on topics such as freight bottlenecks, economic development, port access, and freight and environmental sustainability. The assignment will require integration of the material gathered throughout the Immersion Week through classroom sessions and field visits. It is up to each team to formulate questions, identify the needed information, and obtain information from the sources offered during the immersion portion of the Freight Academy. Time for team meetings has been included in the program. View a sample capstone project.

After the Immersion Program: Teams will continue to communicate and work on the capstone project during the months following the Immersion Program. Teams are expected to submit a written capstone report and presentation.


The Eastern Transportation Coalition gratefully recognizes past Freight Academy Sponsors including: