October 2012

The Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC) region plays an integral role in the freight infrastructure of the United States and the world. In 2010, total freight movement originating or terminating in the MAFC region was valued at almost $5 trillion; air cargo shipments account for $155 billion of this total. This represents almost 31 percent of all U.S. freight movements and 16 percent of air cargo movements. Freight movement in the region is expected to grow on par with the rest of the United States through 2040. In this same period, air cargo in the MAFC region is projected to grow by 4.9 percent compared to 3.2 percent for all modes.

Much of the study of freight movement in this region focuses on highway, rail, and maritime freight. Air cargo is a less-studied yet critical component of freight infrastructure in the MAFC region.

Existing Transportation Infrastructure in MAFC Region

Researchers from CFIRE and the Texas Transportation Institute recently completed a project that provides an overview of air cargo transportation in the MAFC region, including the industry’s recent history, security implications, an integration within the greater regional economy. The project team created an inventory of air cargo facilities in this region, including airports, air cargo screening facilities, and foreign trade zones.

MAFC Airports Facilities Inventory by NPIAS Classification and Activity Status

Researchers also analyzed air cargo activity by weight, value, and commodity for the entire region, for each of the ten states, and for individual airports.

The project team identified the major markets of the air cargo industry the MAFC region: Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Detroit, Michigan; Indianapolis, Indiana; and, Louisville, Kentucky. Researchers also considered how smaller general aviation airports function in the regional air cargo industry and how they support economic development in their communities.

As a result of these analyses, researchers were able to make a number of recommendations for airport planners and decision-makers. First, they should use the results of this study to understand the air cargo industry in the region and how it is near maturity. Second, planners and decision-makers should use the same publicly available data sets used in the study in their decision-making process. And finally, the research team recommends that smaller airports include the airport fixed-base operator (FBO) in this process.

For more information about this project and to read the final report visit the CFIRE 04-11 project page.

Improvements in freight infrastructure are often made in order to improve the efficiency of the transportation network. However, it’s often unclear how to quantify the economic benefits of these infrastructure improvements.

Researchers recently completed a CFIRE-funded project that aimed to develop a methodology to estimate the broad economic benefits of improving the efficiency of trucking in urban areas. Dr. Kazuya Kawamura of the University of Illinois at Chicago led the project team, which also included researchers from the University of Toledo.

The research team developed an analytical framework for quantifying the broad economic benefits of transportation infrastructure projects. This framework is designed to be used with publicly available freight data. They also categorized the urban areas in the upper Midwest according to their economic structure, with a focus on the importance of freight-related industries in these urban areas.

Study Area

Researchers then applied this framework to five regional economies for analysis: Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota. This analysis measured both the short-term economic impact of investing in freight-dependent economies and the resulting permanent structural shift due to a change in demand.

For more information about this project and to read the final report, vist the CFIRE 03-14 project page.

Mid-Continent Town Hall Discussion

October 19, 2012

Submitted by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation The final session at the 2012 Mid-continent Transportation Research Forum featured a Town Hall discussion on research implementation opportunities for the Mid-Continent region.  The facilitated session addressed four specific questions: What have you seen or heard at the conference that you found promising or exciting? What ideas presented […]

Read the full article →

CLTT Study Abroad in Panama

October 18, 2012

The Center for Logistics, Trade, and Transportation (a CFIRE consortium partner) at the University of Southern Mississippi is organizing its annual study abroad program — which focuses on logistics and business — in Panama. The program runs from May 25 to June 3, 2013 and is open to both undergraduate and graduate students. For more […]

Read the full article →

The Effects of Overload Vehicles on Bridges

October 14, 2012

As industry grows and produces ever-larger items, the use of special purpose oversize and overweight (OSOW) vehicles to transport these items also continues to grow. An overweight vehicle crossing a bridge, even if it is a single crossing, may affect both the short-term behavior of the bridge, but also it’s long-term performance and life-cycle cost. […]

Read the full article →

CFIRE Benefit-Cost Analysis Guide

October 9, 2012

CFIRE researchers recently published a guide entitled Using Benefit-Cost Analysis for Evaluating Discretionary Transportation Infrastructure Investment. This guide uses Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant requirements to as an example of using BCA as a project selection tool. TIGER as a program relies on benefit-cost analysis (BCA) as a selection criteria for grant recipients. Managers and analysts alike can use BCA guidance […]

Read the full article →

Better Performing Bridge Approach Slabs

October 4, 2012

The transition between bridge approach slabs and the bridge deck itself often settle at different rates, causing a “bump” for motor vehicles and maintenance problems associated with approach slab deterioration. CFIRE affiliate researchers recently completed a CFIRE-funded project that aimed to improve the performance of highway bridge approach slabs by quantifying the amount of rotation […]

Read the full article →