Infrastructure Technology Institute
This year's symposium addressed issues and opportunities in freight transportation for the Chicago region. Chicago has been, and remains, the freight hub to the nation. This began with the natural connection between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River first utilized more than 300 years ago. The centrality of Chicago in the nation’s freight system was secured with the advent of the railroads in the 19th century. Today, the confluence of Interstate highways, and the national dominance of O’Hare Airport keep Chicago the nation’s freight center.
This pre-eminence of Chicago as a freight hub brings the region a high level of national and international connectivity for goods movement, supporting local industries, markets, and jobs. At the same time, this role brings challenges, in the form of congestion on all modes, delays as freight is interchanged among railroads and between rail and truck, and consequent problems of safety and air pollution.
Participants in the 2009 Symposium heard perspectives on the freight challenges and opportunities facing Chicago and the nation presented by leaders in government, industry, and academia. They had the opportunity to discuss achievements and consider action priorities to make freight flows to and through Chicago more efficient, sustainable, and environmentally sound.
Michael Burton: The Myth or Reality of Chicago as an Intermodal Black Hole
Hani S. Mahmassani: Towards Sustainable Freight Transport: Perspectives from Europe