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From its inception in 2001, the Center has undertaken applied research by affiliated faculty and student research assistants. Research projects have covered a wide range of topics in transportation, logistics and supply chain management for a very wide range of organizations, both local and national. Projects often involve University of Missouri-St. Louis graduate and undergraduate students as research assistants.  


The Center is particularly proud of the successes of its research assistants. Due to their excellent education in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and practical experience received at UMSL, our former research assistants are currently working in their areas of expertise at firms around the world. 


Some Recent Research Projects at Glance:

Application of Discrete-Event Simulation to Capacity Planning at a Commercial Airport

Douglas Smith, Liang Xu, Ziyi Wang, Deng Pan, Laura Hellman, Jan F. Ehmke

In this project we describe the construction, calibration and application of a discrete-event simulation model to estimate the potential effects of changes in airport infrastructure, operating procedures, and traffic intensity upon system performance. Logistic and regression models provide time-varying parameters for probability distributions used for physical processes. Detailed event logs of simulated aircraft activity and corresponding logs of actual aircraft operations allowed us to validate the model and analyze the effects of normal disruptions and extraordinary events. With multivariate statistical analysis, we assessed the influence of design capacity, airline scheduling practices and uncontrollable events on flight delays. We also estimated the effects of selectively removing airport assets from service for major maintenance.

Funded by the Midwest Transportation Center, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology


Strategic Design for Delivery with Linked Transportation Assets: Trucks and Drones

James F. Campbell, Donald C. Sweeney II, Juan Zhang and Deng Pan

Home delivery by drones as an alternative or complement to traditional delivery by trucks is attracting considerable attention from major retailers and services, as well as startups. While drone delivery might offer considerable economic savings, the fundamental issues of how best to deploy drones for home delivery are not well understood. This research provided a strategic analysis for the design of hybrid truck-drone delivery systems using continuous approximation modeling techniques to derive general insights. Results suggest that truck-drone delivery can be very advantageous economically in many settings, especially with multiple drones per truck, but that the benefits depend strongly on the relative operating costs and marginal stop costs.

Funded by the Midwest Transportation Center, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

Correlation of Driver Gender with Injury Severity in Large Truck Crashes in Missouri

Jill Bernard Bracy and Christopher Mondy

This research identified the main factors that contribute to the severity of large truck crashes, and how those factors and their effects differ by gender. Decision tree models were developed for each gender using Missouri crash data to better understand predictor importance and to uncover interactions between contributing factors. Results suggest that the major behaviors that correlate with injury severity differ by gender. The major behaviors for female Missouri truck drivers are following too closely and physical impairment, whereas the major behaviors for male Missouri truck drivers are driving too fast for conditions and failing to yield. Results suggest that environmental factors are not significant predictors of severity outcomes for female CDL drivers; however, road and lighting conditions play a tertiary role for male CDL drivers. Recommendations include encouraging truck driver training programs to focus educational efforts on gender-specific behaviors that affect crash injury severity to enhance road safety.

Funded by the Midwest Transportation Center, and the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology


Cost Benefit Analysis for Replacement of Merchants Bridge Main Spans at St. Louis

Emma J. Nix, Ray Mundy and Daniel Rust.

Owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis, the Merchants Rail Bridge is one of the most heavily used Mississippi River rail crossings. However, the bridge is 126 years old and in significant need of repair. Without improvements, the bridge will close in 2034 and all current traffic will be rerouted to longer routes. This project considered that reconstructing the Merchants Bridge will generate significant economic benefits and should receive federal support.

Funded by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis and the US Department of Transportation Office of Research and Technology


Women in Transportation Field Jobs: The Hidden Asset

The US rail, barge, and trucking industries have long labored under the image of a diversity-challenged sector with few women employed in field jobs. However, the prevalence of vacant operating positions in an increasingly demanding economic market creates new opportunities for companies to hire more women. This research analyzed trends and challenges of employing women in male-dominated roles, and the economic impact women will make by filling more field positions in transportation. It also explored how job vacancies should be marketed to gain the interest of potential female employees, and forecasted future trends and benefits of a more diverse workforce.

In cooperation with and funded by the Union Pacific Railroad, and funded by the US Department of Transportation Office of Research and Technology 


Asset Utilization Potential of Building a Motor Carrier and Rail Mega Intermodal Hub in the St. Louis Region

The objective of this study was to assess the asset utilization potential of building a common trucking and rail intermodal hub in the Saint Louis region by looking at industry history, examining transportation policies and initiatives in the Saint Louis region, and evaluating the major stakeholders affected by intermodal initiatives.

 Funded by the US Department of Transportation Office of Research and Technology 



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