Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study

"Looking at Freight from a Regional Perspective"

The study is researching several aspects of regional freight transportation, including capacity, performance measures, administrative issues, demand/usage, and best practices. The corridor area is shown in the picture below. The research is divided into parts, the research groups meet every other week via conference call or in person to discuss cooperative efforts.

Study Area

Study Area: Outline of study area (green) and directly affected areas (gray).

The study officially began work in August 2003. The final report should be released by February 2005. The study has its primary roots in the efforts of the Midwest Regional University Transportation Center (MRUTC) that started in 2001. At that time, planning began for a regional freight transportation workshop that was held in Chicago in April 2002. Discussions at that event led to a working group that would analyze the feasibility of a corridor study in the Upper Midwest. Stakeholders from the public and private sectors met later in 2002 to help shape a proposal introduced by the MRUTC. After more discussions and several revisions, the states in the region were approached in the spring of 2003 to commit funding to the study through a memorandum of understanding (MOU). As discussed below, six states signed the MOU and by the end of the summer 2003, the pooled fund and project contract were in place.

The study is being funded from several sources. Six states in the region, through their Departments of Transportation, have contributed to a pooled fund to finance the majority of the work. These states include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Each state contributed $60,000 to the pooled fund which is administered by the Ohio Department of Transportation. The research centers working on the study have also contributed funds for faculty and staff, student appointments and tuition costs, and various facilities and supplies. The study is truly a cooperative effort across the region. A more detailed look at the study can be found by opening the study proposal (revised October 2003), linked here (pdf format). Also informative is a look at other regional freight studies. A synthesis of some of the larger efforts is linked here (pdf format).


The Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study (UMFCS) concluded on October 31, 2006 with the submission of the project’s final report. While all future work will be done as the Mississippi Valley Freight Coalition, the UMFCS remains a valuable source of regional data and analysis on the needs, usage, administration, capacity, and future of the Upper Midwest transportation system’s ability to meet freight demand. Active since 2003, the UMFCS has been dedicated to meeting the challenges of freight movement and economic vitality in the Upper Midwest . The seven states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa, as well as the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba, all participated in the UMFCS along with the Federal Highway Administration and researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the University of Illinois-Chicago, and the University of Toledo. The Upper Midwest Freight Corridor Study’s efforts focus on developing capacity, regulatory, planning, and public/private initiatives to help meet the nation’s need for safe, efficient and sustainable infrastructure for the movement of goods.