South Dakota Cargo Transportation

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South Dakota Cargo Transportation

Goals and Purpose of the South Dakota Freight Plan 

The South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT) seeks to improve the movement of people and products, to encourage competition, lower the transportation cost of freight transportation, and to facilitate economic growth. This plan will accomplish these objectives by identifying opportunities, trends, technology and by depicting and facilitating the planning and coordination process that will allow the Department to take advantage of the strategies identified in the plan. The purpose of the South Dakota Highway Freight Plan is to guide improvement of South Dakota’s overall freight system and support SDDOT’s mission to provide a safe and effective public transportation system.

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A safe, efficient and reliable freight transportation network is essential to the economics of the state. Highways, railroads, pipelines, and airports allow South Dakota businesses and consumers to export and receive goods to and from global markets. Improvements to our freight system will lower costs for consumers and make South Dakota products more attractive in global markets. Failure to continue to make improvements will result in a loss of economic productivity and limit development. 

Freight and the Economy 
South Dakota’s economy is an agricultural economy. Moving farm commodities to market is vital to South Dakota. Although retail trade, finance and insurance, educational services, health care, and government have a greater impact to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), nothing relies more on transportation system than agriculture. Failure to maintain the freight system will result in loss of jobs, economic development, and income for South Dakotans.

Freight Movement 
South Dakota is an agricultural state supplying the world with commodities. Farm to market freight movements are vital to the state’s economy. The majority of the top commodities moving to and from South Dakota are related to the agriculture industry. It is projected South Dakota will continue this trend into the future. Freight movement is measured by weight and dollar value. Table 2-1 shows the top eleven commodities by weight moving to and from the state in 2015 and the projection for 2045. These commodities are typically high weight bulk shipments with a lower value. The top eleven commodities account for 89% of the total commodities shipped by weight in 2015 and are projected to account for 90% of the products moved in 2045.

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Freight movement can be split into multiple categories, freight moving within South Dakota, freight moving from outside South Dakota to South Dakota (Inbound) and freight moving from South Dakota to a location outside South Dakota (Outbound).

Traffic Efficiently moving freight across the highway system is vital to the economy of South Dakota. Truck traffic in the state is concentrated on the Interstate system, where truck traffic ranges from 1000 to greater than 5000 trucks per day depending on the highway segment. The greater amount of truck traffic is located around the Sioux Falls area where segments show greater than 5000 trucks per day. Overall the truck traffic on the Interstate is approximately 20 to 25 percent of the total traffic. 
The average truck traffic on the non-Interstate preferential truck network ranges from 10 to 20 percent of the total traffic. The majority of the non-Interstate preferential truck network consists of two-lane rural highways which have an average annual daily traffic (AADT) of 2000 or fewer vehicles per day and truck traffic less than 200 per day. Figure 4-4 shows the 2015 AADT and Figure 4-5 shows the 2015 AADT truck traffic on the preferential truck network.

South Dakota MapSouth Dakota is a Great Plains state in the northern part of the country. Agriculture plays a major role in the state, as well as tourism to major destinations including Mount Rushmore. The state has extensive rail lines and highways, although harsh winters can make South Dakota freight shipping difficult in some areas. Overall there is a very low volume of goods moving through the state, making South Dakota freight rates quite expensive in the more rural areas. The lowest freight rates can be found near the population centers and railroads. This low volume also makes LTL shipping quite expensive in South Dakota.

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South Dakota freight shipping is not high volume due to the low consumption and small industry located there. However, it can be very affordable due to lower capacity and lower demand. South Dakota freight rates can be high in some very rural areas. This includes LTL freight and truckload freight. The ease and cost of shipping into or out of South Dakota can be heavily based on proximity to major metro areas.