Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program (TPEC)

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This collection contains progress reports, white papers, and other publications from the Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program (TPEC). TPEC was created in response to a directive by the Minnesota Legislature for the Minnesota Department of Transportation to fund research at the University of Minnesota's Center for Transportation Studies, including research on "transportation policy and economic competitiveness, including, but not limited to, innovative transportation finance options and economic development, transportation impacts of industry clusters and freight, and transportation technology impacts on economic competitiveness."

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    Motorization Trends In Minnesota
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2023-06) Fonseca, Camila; Zeerak, Raihana; Lari, Adeel; Zhao, Jerry
    The analysis of motorization trends in the state of Minnesota is important because it reveals changes in driving behavior that impact transportation planning and funding across the state. Changes in traveling habits have implications for transportation revenue streams in Minnesota, particularly for roadway infrastructure investment. This report presents an analysis of motorization and highway and roadway funding trends in Minnesota between 1980 and 2021. Key motorization patterns include the number of registered vehicles, vehicle miles traveled (VMT), fuel consumption, and vehicle crashes. In addition, this report analyses the evolution of roadway revenues and expenses at the federal, state, and local levels. The analysis in this report includes an overview of the general trends for the state as well as an overview of the changes by county. Data for the analysis come from the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database. The report has several interesting findings about motorization in Minnesota. For instance, the number of registered vehicles has continually increased since 1980, although it has slowed since the 2000s. However, the number of registered vehicles per capita and per county indicate significant declines in recent years. Similarly, the number of alternative fuel vehicles, particularly electric vehicles (EVs), has been increasing. Distance traveled, measured by VMT, and fuel consumption increased, although their per capita measures have also decreased, particularly since 2020. Lastly, while overall the number of vehicle crashes has declined since 2004, the number of fatal crashes rose significantly in 2021. Overall, Minnesota's trends are consistent with the national pattern. The persistence of these trends in the future will have consequences in future roadway funding. In particular, fuel consumption and its long-term declines due to increases in fuel efficiency standards could cause continuous revenue reductions unless the state roadway funding structure is adjusted.
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    Connected and Automated Vehicles: Accessibility for the Twin Cities East Metro (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2022-10) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes an opportunity for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) to serve the east metro of the Twin Cities, particularly the East Side, downtown, and Frogtown areas of St. Paul.
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    2020-2022 Progress Report
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2022-06) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This progress report highlights TPEC activities from 2020 to 2022, including the equity and accessibility of connected and automated vehicles, telecommuting during the COVID-19 pandemic, medical device industry clusters, the supply chain during COVID-19, and transportation funding redistribution.
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    Minnesota Transportation Funding Redistribution: 2015–2020 (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2022-07) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes a recent analysis of transportation funding redistribution in Minnesota that looked at the six-year period between 2015 and 2020. The full report is available at https://hdl.handle.net/11299/253538.
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    Minnesota Transportation Funding Redistribution (2015-2020): Who Contributes More and Who Receives More?
    (Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program, University of Minnesota, 2022-04) Fonseca, Camila; Zeerak, Raihana; Zhao, Jerry; Lari, Adeel
    The focus of this analysis is the redistribution of transportation funding across Minnesota. Transportation funding comes from all levels of government – the federal, the state, and local governments that include counties, cities, and townships. The redistribution of transportation funding arises the following questions: What areas contribute the most to transportation funding? What areas receive more funding? What areas contribute more than what they receive? Or vice versa. This report aims to answer these empirical questions with the purpose of facilitating informed decision making. In this report, we aggregate or allocate data to the county level for analysis and then present the aggregated results at the district level for a six-year period, between 2015 and 2020. We found that local governments fund a huge proportion of the transportation infrastructure in Minnesota, primarily through the property taxes they collect. The Metro District contributes slightly more than what it receives. In addition, this district receives the largest share of funding for transit services. Districts in Greater Minnesota receive more funding that they contribute, mainly due to lower population density. Finally, we found a cost of 8.7 cents per vehicle mile traveled in the state. This cost tends to be much higher in counties located in the north.
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    Sustaining Minnesota’s Medical Device Industry Cluster: A Vital Role for Multimodal Transportation
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2022-01) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This report synthesizes University of Minnesota research into the importance of multimodal transportation in sustaining the medical device industry cluster. It incorporates perspectives from industry leaders, state policymakers, and other stakeholders. It also looks at challenges and opportunities stemming from the pandemic and offers recommendations for policymakers.
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    Connected and Automated Vehicles: Opportunity for Equity, Accessibility, and Safety (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2020-08) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes a project that sought to uncover the needs of transportation-disadvantaged communities in the Twin Cities East Metro area and determine whether CAV could be an appropriate solution.
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    Minnesota Roadway Funding: Where Does It Come From and Where Does It Go? (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2020-08) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes the TPEC white paper Minnesota Roadway Funding: Revenue Sources & Distribution, which is available at https://hdl.handle.net/11299/253534.
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    Minnesota Roadway Funding: Revenue Sources & Distribution
    (Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program, University of Minnesota, 2020-06) Zhao, Jerry; Fonseca, Camila; Bean, Nate; Lari, Adeel
    Minnesota roadway funding comes from a combination of federal, state, and local sources. Federal funding comes primarily from the federal motor fuel tax, while most state funding comes from the three state highway user taxes: the state motor fuel tax, the registration tax, and the motor vehicle sales tax. These funds support the state trunk highway system that includes interstates and state highways, in addition to providing aid to local governments. Local highway funding comes from general funds, made up primarily of property taxes and assessments, in addition to a few dedicated local transportation taxes. This revenue is used to support highways and streets under the jurisdiction of counties, cities, and townships. The network of highways and local roads is essential to the state's economy and the daily activities of Minnesota residents. Maintaining, expanding, and operating this infrastructure is a major expense for the state and local governments inside Minnesota. Generating sufficient revenue for highways and streets remains a major challenge, and recent revenue projections estimate a shortfall of $18 billion in necessary funding between 2018 and 2037, for the state highway system alone. Understanding Minnesota's road financing structure is important to anticipate and address future transportation changes. This report details federal, state, and local government funding for the roadway system in Minnesota. It explores how roadway funding is generated and distributed, as well as the history of current funding mechanisms. Statistics from the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database are used throughout this paper.
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    2017-2019 Progress Report
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2020-01) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This progress report highlights TPEC activities from 2017 to 2019, including Minnesota’s motorization trend impacts on roadway funding, taxing ride-hailing companies, the addition of a visualization tool to the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database, insight on how federal and state transportation funding is redistributed in Minnesota, the medical device industry and freight infrastructure, connected and automated vehicles, and blockchain.
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    Minnesota Transportation Funding: How Are Federal and State Funds Redistributed? (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes how federal and state transportation funding is redistributed in Minnesota.
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    Minnesota Transportation Finance Database: Visualization Tool Enables Access and Usage (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief describes a data visualization tool added to the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database.
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    Minnesota's Motorization Trends Reshape Roadway Funding (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes TPEC report Motorization Trends in Minnesota.
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    Minnesota’s Booming Medical Sector Relies on Airports (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes recent TPEC work on air cargo and medical goods.
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    Connected and Automated Vehicles: Opportunity for Safety, Accessibility, and Equity (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes TPEC's recent community engagement and takeaways regarding connected and automated vehicles (CAV) in Minnesota.
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    Blockchain: A Disruptive Technology for Transportation? (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-02) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page brief describes blockchain and proposed TPEC research in this area.
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    Medical Industry Cluster Forum: Summary Report
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2020-01) Center for Transportation Studies
    This report summarizes a forum held on the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis campus on November 8, 2019. The forum brought together leaders for a discussion of the importance of the medical industry cluster to Minnesota’s economy and its implications for infrastructure use and economic development.
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    Minnesota Medical Device Industry Cluster: Development, Linkages, and Transportation
    (Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program, University of Minnesota, 2019-10-30) Munnich, Lee; Horan, Tom
    Minnesota’s medical device industry cluster is not only one of the biggest driving economic forces in the state, it is also a leader in global medical device arena. For this reason, the Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness (TPEC) program at University of Minnesota has undertaken a multi-phased analysis of the medical device industry, with particular attention to transportation implications. This analysis has featured both quantitative (e.g., spatial) analysis as well as qualitative (e.g., interviews) analysis. These analyses have addressed economic competitiveness, economic development, transportation implications, and research and data needs. These issues as well as transportation policy implications are summarized in this white paper.
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    Identifying the Opportunities and Obstacles of Connected and Automated Vehicles in Rural Minnesota: Community Engagement in Greater Minnesota
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2019-06) Douma, Frank; Lari, Adeel; McNiel, Daniel
    Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) technologies have advanced toward implementation stages and will eventually arrive on Minnesota roadways. The advent of CAV technology highlights the importance of facilitating policy conversations that will help plan for the uncertainties of these new modes of transportation. Rural communities in Minnesota experience distinct barriers to safe and affordable transit and have the potential to benefit greatly from the advancements of CAV technology. Automated vehicles present new ways of improving transportation safety, increasing accessibility for transportation disadvantaged populations and spurring economic growth. However, there is growing need for elected officials and city staff to initiate advanced planning regarding CAVs while these technologies continue to be developed and tested, as without policy intervention and intentional planning, CAV technologies have the undesired potential to perpetuate inequities especially in rural areas, where transit service can be very limited, or non-existent. Rural areas will likely require the development of different CAV transit models that blend the functions of high speed and low speed public transit. Examining the challenges that rural transit operators currently face in Greater Minnesota can help to guide the development of policy that promotes rural driverless transit. At the University of Minnesota, the Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program (TPEC) has been examining equity issues and opportunities related to CAV technology since 2014. The TPEC program focuses on conducting research, creating tools for policymakers, and engaging in outreach to better understand the relationship between transportation and economic development in Minnesota. In the Spring of 2017, TPEC researchers organized a CAV Task Force to identify how various SDV deployment strategies could improve mobility and access for transportation dependent Minnesotans. The work of the Task Force highlighted the need for further outreach and engagement with communities in Greater Minnesota to better understand considerations for implementing CAVs in rural contexts. The TPEC team then conducted community discussions with municipalities throughout the state to better understand how CAV technologies present opportunities to improve safety, accessibility, and equity in Greater Minnesota. The insights gained from these community discussions can help assist Minnesota lawmakers design future CAV policy that is responsive to the needs of residents.
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    Minnesota Transportation Finance Database: Data Updated, New Analyses (Research Brief)
    (Center for Transportation Studies, University of Minnesota, 2018-06) Transportation Policy and Economic Competitiveness Program
    This two-page research brief summarizes a new analysis of transportation funding redistribution in Minnesota, which resulted in updating the Minnesota Transportation Finance Database. It corresponds to Minnesota Transportation Funding Redistribution (2010-2015): Who Contributes More and Who Receives More? available at https://hdl.handle.net/11299/253384.