News

Upper Mississippi River Lock and Dam

What would happen if something were to stop the flow of goods along the Upper Mississippi River? Researchers at the Mid-America Freight Coalition (MAFC), headquartered at the National Center for Freight & Infrastructure Research & Education (CFIRE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, explored the costs of failure of the systems that support freight shipments along this waterway. The results of their investigation have been released in a report titled, “Modal Investment Comparison: The Impact of Upper Mississippi River Lock and Dam Shutdowns on State Highway Infrastructure.” The report provides guidance to states around the costs and benefits of infrastructure maintenance and investment decisions.

An important component of the Midwest economy, the Upper Mississippi River is responsible for the movement of over $88 billion in goods annually. This is a crucial mode of freight movement, especially for the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri, which rely on the waterway to export their agricultural products and other raw materials. Unfortunately, the infrastructure that makes freight movement along this waterway possible is in a fragile state with many points of potential failure. The precarious situation begs the question whether the region’s states can afford to maintain the waterway infrastructure or, alternatively, take on the added expenses that would be incurred when other modes absorb displaced freight movement in the event of a failure.

Accumulated Traffic in Event of Lock Failure

This map shows how a failure in the lock and dam system along the Upper Mississippi River would result in a cascade of accumulating truck traffic along the region’s highways. The line thickness represents the millions of tons of agricultural exports from the affected states that would be forced onto highways on their journey to domestic and international markets.

“The Mississippi River is of vital importance to the economies of Iowa, the Upper Midwest, and the nation as a whole,” said Sam Hiscocks, Freight Coordinator at the Iowa Department of Transportation. “With agricultural exports expected to increase and the expansion of the Panama Canal shifting the amount of goods that can be shipped via ports on the Gulf of Mexico, the State of Iowa has a strong interest in the condition of the Mississippi River infrastructure.”

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NBC15 News Report on Driverless Cars

CFIRE Executive Director, Teresa Adams, PhD, helped answer questions and explore the potential implications of driverless cars for members of the Madison community this week. On Tuesday, February 21, Madison newspaper, The Cap Times hosted a live panel discussion as part of their Cap Times Talks series.

Following the panel discussion, Adams spent time speaking with NBC15 news reporter, Avery Hall, addressing questions about the future of driverless cars in Wisconsin.

Coverage of the event includes:

  1. Video and article on the WMTV NBC15 website.
  2. Photos on The Cap Times website.
  3. Article on The Cap Times website.

TMP Student Projects Provide Planning Tool for Cities and a Survey of Drone Uses

July 8, 2016

A tool with real-world applications for city planners as well as a robust survey of drone technologies were the highlights of the Spring 2016 end-of-semester symposium of the Transportation Management and Policy (TMP) program. The students presented their work on May 6th to a gathering of interested staff, faculty, other students, and a representative of […]

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Fast Forward Features the NNTW

March 23, 2015

Fast Forward recently published a feature on the National Network for the Transportation Workforce (NNTW), the network of five regional workforce centers that includes the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC). Just last year, the U.S. Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced five newly-established Centers designated to lead and coordinate transportation workforce development efforts in and across […]

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UW-Madison to Host New Regional Transportation Workforce Center

October 15, 2014

Madison, Wisconsin.—The US Department of Transportation (US DOT) Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has selected the University of Wisconsin-Madison to establish the Midwest Transportation Workforce Center (MTWC) as one of five regional transportation workforce centers in the country. The MTWC, funded by a $600,000 grant by FHWA, is led by Dr. Teresa Adams. The Center will […]

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Adams Comments on Automated Vehicles

September 2, 2014

CFIRE Executive Director Teresa Adams recently commented on automated and driverless vehicle technology in Madison’s Cap Times. In a recent interview, Adams explained that limitations of the radar and lidar (light-sensing radar) systems on these cars will make navigating in high-congestion and less-regulated areas (think crowded parking lots) a high bar for autonomous cars to clear […]

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Strategies for Increasing Use of Existing Transportation Infrastructure

August 28, 2014

The construction and maintenance of new infrastructure is not always the best way of confronting congestion. In many cases, it is much less expensive to design policies that shift traffic to underutilized infrastructure. The Getting the Goods without the Bads: Freight Transportation Demand Management Strategies to Reduce Urban Impacts (CFIRE 07-02) project, led by CFIRE […]

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