The multimodal freight transportation system within the Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence
Basin (GLSLB, or Basin, as defined in the map below) provides linkages to key gateways
and corridors in the U.S. and Canada, and plays an important role in connecting the
economy of North America, and the Heartland region in particular. The economic
productivity of the Basin is dependent on the overall transportation performance
of the multimodal freight system in the GLSLB.
The multimodal freight transportation network around the GLSLB comprises 15 large
international ports and 50 regional ports, as well as major road, rail, airport and
Many parts of the surface transportation system around the GLSLB are capacity
constrained and congested, whereas the marine assets of the GLSLB, including its
waterways, are largely underutilized (albeit constrained by other impediments
including regulation, physical characteristics, geography, etc.).
In order to support investment and planning initiatives, policy recommendations
and a coordinated effort to maintain an effective multimodal freight transportation
system in the GLSLB, research is needed to document and better understand the
contribution of the Basin to the economic vitality of North America and to help
realize the total modal potential of the area.
Accordingly, in April 2010, a Request for Proposal was issued by the TRB for
a study focusing on Multimodal Freight Transportation Within the Great Lakes-Saint
Lawrence Basin (NCFRP 35). In November 2010, the CPCS team was awarded the contract
to undertake this research effort. The output of this study will yield clear policy,
planning lessons and supporting research tools, data1 and analysis to be used to
support future work and research to improve the performance of the regional multimodal
freight transportation system.