This paper examines the problems facing freight traffic route assessment caused primarily by the complex structure of the freight business. It then examines the traditional quantitative approach to research in this area showing the practical difficulties of the work and giving details of some of the techniques that have been used to overcome them. It then examines the advantages and disadvantages of this approach and the care that is needed in interpreting the results. The alternative approach small scale highly analytical qualitative research is then examined in depth and the advantages and disadvantages of the approach assessed. Again, attention is given for the type of error that can occur when using this technique. Finally, a combined approach using both qualitative and quantitative techniques in a series of stages is recommended as likely to lead to collection of more accurate data for taking investment and long term marketing decisions.