MAFC Regional Freight Study

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September 2011
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MAFC Regional Freight Study
Benefit-Cost Analysis Guide
 Final Report

Primary Investigator

Teresa Adams
Dept. of Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Wisconsin-Madison


The ten states of the Mid-America Freight Coalition are undertaking a study of the movement of freight through and within the region. The primary goal of this study is to maximize the benefit that transportation can contribute to regional economic health. The economy of the region is heavily reliant on manufacturing and agriculture, both of which generate significant amounts of freight, both for the inputs and for the products of economic activities. Both of these major economic engines also face major competition from foreign producers. Success in that competition depends in part on producing quality products at competitive prices, but it also depends on the ability to deliver those products to national and international markets at competitive prices. In delivered, or landed, price, transportation can be a significant factor. Any measures that can be taken to make the movement of freight within the region more efficient will benefit regional producers and the general economy of the region.


The states have defined the following objectives for this study:

  • The use of transportation and the movement of freight to support and encourage a regional approach to economic development.
  • Identification of bottlenecks, particularly at intermodal connections, how they affect freight movements throughout the entire region, and how they might be alleviated.
  • Uniformity and consistency applied to freight movements across the regions, especially regarding permitting, truck sizes and weights, and oversize/overweight rules.
  • Development of major routes and corridors as regional entities that account for multi-modal and intermodal aspects.
  • Identification of unused freight capacity in different areas and modes and how this and how this capacity might be better used.
  • Support for disaster planning, scenario planning, and incident management when a major node, or corridor, is crippled by forces of man or nature.
  • Environmental considerations such as air quality, fuel efficiency, land use, and mitigation of invasive species.

Underlying all of these objectives is the general consensus that a regional freight study should provide the basis for fostering collaboration among the Coalition states, and well as for pursuing multi-state projects at the federal level.


  1. Identify state and regionally significant freight corridors and nodes
  2. Assess and integrate business climate perspectives on freight development
  3. Develop a suite of freight project planning and project evaluation tools
  4. Assess regional integration of over size and overweight trucking (OSOW) considerations
  5. Establish freight performance measures
  6. Identify and assess timely and cutting edge freight opportunities
  7. Data/project management/documentation effort

Project Information

  • Duration: 18 months
  • Dates: July 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012
  • Budget: $220,000
  • Student Involvement: Two graduate students and one undergraduate
  • Modal Orientation: Highway, Rail, Air, Maritime
  • Project ID: MAFC 13
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