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Rural freight rail and multimodal transportation improvements.
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Rural freight rail and multimodal transportation improvements.
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    In this time of globalization, urbanization, congestions and increasing fuel prices, the growing importance of both freight and passenger transportation has been widely acknowledged. However, the importance of competitive transportation for rural America has received less attention. Affordable freight transportation is a requirement for survival for many rural industries, and in many cases this is challenging to accomplish without the presence of freight rail systems. Many of these industries are located along light-density rail lines where loss of a single shipper may negate the economic profitability of the line and lead to threat of abandonment. Without rail services, many industries would be required to consider relocation of their facilities to a location with better transportation alternatives. The State of Michigan has numerous rail lines that meet these characteristics, both in the northern part of Lower Peninsula and throughout the Upper Peninsula (UP). This project investigated the transportation system in the UP, concentrating on identifying challenges faced by rural freight rail service providers and shippers along light-density lines and on developing tools and methods that facilitate the current and future rail and multimodal transportation alternatives in the study area. The project was conducted as a collaborative effort between NURail (Michigan Tech) and Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). The complete technical report submitted to MDOT can be accessed at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdot/RC1606C_470325_7.pdf and is included as an Appendix in this report.
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