A newly published article in the journal Community Development highlights work on transportation and economic competitiveness conducted by Humphrey School researchers.
Article authors Lee Munnich, senior fellow, and Frank Douma, director of the State and Local Policy Program, outline how their team worked with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Minnesota Department of Administration, and University of Minnesota Extension to develop and implement a unique approach linking economic development and transportation planning. Their work has focused on getting manufacturers’ perspectives on transportation issues as part of regional transportation decision making.
Using the Economic Development Administration’s US Cluster Mapping tool, the team identified competitive traded industry clusters in MnDOT operations districts. U of M, MnDOT, and local economic development staff interviewed manufacturers and their carriers within these clusters to better understand the transportation and logistics issues these companies face. The team also wanted to learn how MnDOT could make improvements to its operations and systems to help alleviate or minimize these issues.
A pilot study in MnDOT District 8 was completed in 2014. Since then, projects have been conducted in District 4 and District 2, with another project under way in District 1. Plans are being made to conduct projects in District 6 and in the Twin Cities metro area.
Topics covered in the interviews have ranged from district operations and maintenance to communications and infrastructure to policy questions. Comments from businesses ranged from commending MnDOT on its snow and ice removal to requesting improved communication and coordination related to construction projects.
For more information about the project, including details about the key themes that emerged, read the full journal article.