OnTrackNorthAmerica embarks on collaborative research

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
image description

OnTrackNorthAmerica (OTNA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit think tank, has entered into working relationships with Dr. Pasi Lautala from Michigan Tech University and Dr. Mingzhou Jin, Director of the Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain Engineering lab at the University of Tennessee.

“We are fulfilling our mission by facilitating intellectual collaboration” said OTNA President and Founder Michael Sussman. “With our academic partners we are extending the boundaries of knowledge in the field of transportation planning and investment strategy while leveraging our industry experience to guide in-the-field application.”

Dr. Jin’s efforts focus on the formulation of OTNA’s National Transportation Lifecycle Costs and Benefits Project. Dr. Jin summarizes his efforts: “As an author of several papers about transportation performance measurement development and a principal investigator who has conducted more than a dozen projects for US DOT and several state DOTs, I still observe that measures used in practice are very different across transportation modes and government agencies There is a need to conduct a comprehensive study to provide a unified life-cycle costs and benefits analysis framework for evaluating transportation systems and facilitating performance-based decision making.”

OTNA and Dr. Lautala’s collaboration “is based on recognition that for capital investment in infrastructure to be productive and profitable, it is necessary to develop and agree on a set of measures and values to guide these major investments for public and private purposes,”said Dr. Lautala. “As yet, the measures, data, and analytical method have not been gathered and agreed on across agency, community and sector lines. Therefore, system-level as well as individual transportation project investments are challenging to evaluate in cases where researchers, consultants, and decision-makers are unable to agree on a full set of lifecycle costs and benefits.”

“It’s OTNA’s mission to bridge these gaps and enable us to make better decisions, with broader positive social impact, in a timelier manner” noted Sussman.

Founded in 2007, OnTrackNorthAmerica is described as “an action think tank for expanding the capacity and footprint of rail transportation within an optimal system in service to the environment, economy, and quality of life. In partnership with industry, academia, and government, it develops programs for more intelligent, sustainable, and resilient transportation systems.”

Categories: News, Short Lines & Regionals, Switching & Terminal Tags: , ,