Minnesota Regional Freight Plans

MnDOT Districts 1, 2, 4, and 8, Minnesota

This multimodal transportation planning effort included highway (commercial vehicle operations), rail, air cargo, and intermodal transportation. The purpose of the studies was to provide a better understanding of the demands that freight places on the regional transportation infrastructure and to provide a framework that addressed key state freight planning goals.

The SRF Team worked with study stakeholders to produce two working papers and two technical memorandums, which, after review, were integrated into an overall final report by MnDOT.

Working Paper #1: A regional freight system inventory was prepared that described the freight transportation networks in the regions.

Working Paper #2: A regional freight system analysis was completed that described the nature and characteristics of trade in the region by analyzing commodity flows by mode to, from, through and within the regions.

Technical Memorandum #1 complemented the economic and commodity data with extensive stakeholders outreach. Through this effort, key issues affecting freight infrastructure needs or operational improvements were identified in the regions. These improvement opportunities were then summarized in several ways:

  • “Quick Start Projects” – relatively low cost (less than $50,000) infrastructure, operational and/or institutional improvements that provide freight mobility, reliability or security benefits
  • Transportation Improvements Program Projects – possible projects suitable for inclusion in the next MPO TIPs and District STIPs
  • Policy or institution issues that require additional research or planning were presented in the form of problem statements.

Technical Memorandum #2 examined an array of operating and program efficiencies, infrastructure upgrades and investments, regulatory initiatives, and public/private initiatives. Specific strategies and recommendations were prepared for the following critical issues:

  • Explore opportunities to expand intermodal services in Dilworth, Minnesota.
  • Establish regional freight advisory committees.
  • Designate a tiered truck network.
  • Identify commercial commodity corridors.
  • Present freight safety and information strategies.
  • Designate super-haul corridors for permit operations.
  • Consider policies to improve regional truck size and weight uniformity.
  • Explore intermodal service options in Duluth-Superior.
  • Support Duluth port capacity expansion.
  • Promote port development planning and research.
  • Undertake a number of quick start projects.