Critical Sections and Resiliency of MVFC Freight Projects

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

Primary Investigator

Ernie Wittwer
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1415 Engineering Drive, 2205 EH
Madison, WI    53706


The National Infrastructure Protection Plan (NIPP) defines resiliency as “the capability of an asset, system, or network to maintain its function during or to recover from a terrorist attack or other incident.” Efficient goods movement is reliant on a complex multimodal transportation system comprised of countless components. While transportation corridors can be viewed as highly resilient due to availability of numerous alternatives routes, these routes may not be available to commercial trucks or, as in the case of an Incident of National Significance, may itself become compromised by the very same incident disrupting the primary freight corridor.

For this reason, loss of capacity due to natural/manmade disasters or terrorist actions has different implications for the freight system’s functionality. Compromised primary and secondary transportation routes can have significant economic consequences stemming from the disruption of the flow of production inputs and outputs. The more resilient an affected segment is, the less significant the disruption will be and the quicker the area economy can return to business as usual. Conversely, the less the resilient the affected node is, the more significant the disruption and economic consequences will be.

Major interstate highway corridors support high volumes of freight and passenger travel and play a unique role as the critical backbone to freight and passenger mobility. Studies to better leverage our knowledge of the corridor are vital for adequate preparedness and appropriate response to unanticipated events.


The goal of this project is to identify critical nodes and sections, including intermodal connectors, along the I-35, I-70, I-80, I-90, and I-94 freight corridors within the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition (MVFC) region that are most vulnerable to disruption and lack adequate alternate route freight capacity. The information provided will be in the form of recommendations of segments in need of enhancement and strategies for navigating traffic on to alternate routes in times of need. This project will indentify and create an inventory of critical sections of the network along the proposed Corridors. The critical sections are where the greatest traffic delays would be experienced.


  1. Literature review on the transportation network resiliency and the operation response planning.
  2. Network inventory
  3. Corridor segmentation
  4. Evaluate corridors based on vulnerability and economic impacts
  5. Discuss specific limitations and assumptions of the corridor network model and data
  6. Coordinate efforts with state Homeland Security Agencies and DOT’s to identify critical nodes (terminals) and sections through survey where alternative routes are lacking.
  7. Develop an analytical framework to verify the survey results, including development of a matrix on natural and man-made disasters and critical routing
  8. Recommendation and conclusions
  9. Summarize findings and plausible implication scenarios

Project Information

  • Duration: 16 months
  • Dates: May 1, 2010 – August 31, 2011
  • Budget: $80,000
  • Student Involvement: None
  • Modal Orientation: Highway
  • Project ID: MVFC 12
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