A Commercial zone is an area designated historically by the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) around a city or town to which a rate carrier’s quote for the city or town also apply.
The commercial zone is useful for the calculation of freight rates because it establishes a certain radius around a city or town in which the cost of doing business is relatively consistent. Within this zone, businesses can expect to find all of the infrastructure and services they need to operate, including accessible transportation, telecommunications, and utilities.
The commercial zone also helps to ensure that businesses located outside of urban areas do not experience an unfair disadvantage when competing with those inside the city limits. By establishing a uniform price for shipping goods into and out of a city or town, the commercial zone eliminates the possibility of companies within the city enjoying artificially low shipping rates due to their proximity to the transportation hub. This creates a more level playing field for businesses located outside of metropolitan areas and encourages competition, innovation, and efficiency.
The commercial zone is just one example of the many ways in which the ICC helped to ensure a fair and equitable transportation system in the United States. Established in 1887, the ICC is the nation’s oldest independent federal regulatory agency. Its mission is to promote economic growth and improve transportation services by ensuring that the transportation network is safe, efficient, and accessible for everyone. The ICC does this by regulating the transportation industry, including trucking, railroads, shipping, and pipelines. It also resolves disputes between transportation companies and their customers, and provides information and assistance to business owners and consumers who need it.
Many ICC functions now reside with the National Surface Transportation Board (NSTB), which was created in 1996 as part of the ICC’s transition to a more market-based transportation system. However, the ICC still retains its important regulatory functions, and it continues to play a vital role in ensuring that the US transportation network meets the needs of businesses and consumers nationwide.