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.
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.