Southeast Wisconsin Freight Access and Mobility Study

Quarterly Reports Other Documents Final Report
September 2010
December 2010
March 2011
June 2011
Contact Greg Waidley

Primary Investigator

Jason Bittner
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 EH
Madison, WI 53706


A recent manual review of infrastructure near the Port of Milwaukee revealed that certain load heights, lengths, and weights would be difficult—if not impossible to move by truck to and from the Port as well as new and existing manufacturing facilities in Southeast Wisconsin. This limitation impacts specialized, unusually-sized freight. Rail is available to and from the port and near some of the manufacturing locations in the Southeast portion of Wisconsin which allows the potential opportunity to move these and other commodities destined for truck transport via short haul rail. Less dense areas outside or on the fringe of the greater Milwaukee area provide access to the remaining portions of the state and beyond Wisconsin’s borders.

The city of Milwaukee has the highest population density in Wisconsin and the state’s most-congested freeways. The Milwaukee area has also attracted heavy industry to the area. Congestion, combined with obsolete infrastructure with respect to overpass bridge heights, geometric limitations, and pavement conditions, if left unresolved could lead to unfavorable competitive positions for businesses in Southeast Wisconsin. These circumstances warrant the exploration of multimodal solutions in Southeast Wisconsin.


To conduct a feasibility assessment to determine any needed infrastructure enhancements that can improve multimodal freight access and mobility in the Greater Milwaukee area.


  1. Inventory infrastructure in the greater Milwaukee area.
  2. Compile inventory of commodities that are being shipped via the Great Lakes.
  3. Identify factors impeding movement of goods and assess the need for improvements.
  4. Identify cost thresholds.
  5. Recommend, prioritize, and locate needed geometric improvements.
  6. Provide analysis of existing regulatory and operational barriers.
  7. Final report.

Project Information

  • Duration: 5 months
  • Dates: May 1, 2010 – September 30, 2010
  • Budget: $100,000
  • Student Involvement: One graduate student and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail
  • Project ID: CFIRE 04-04
Print Friendly