MTC research briefs: University of Missouri–St. Louis

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July 06, 2016

The Midwest Transportation Center (MTC) sponsors a competitive research program to fund projects focused on State of Good Repair in infrastructure with attention to safety and Data Driven Performance Measures for Enhanced Infrastructure Condition.

The following details two projects led by the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Stay up to date on research conducted by the MTC here.


University of Missouri–St. Louis

Economic Impact for the Region of Replacement of the Merchants Bridge

Project PI: Ray Mundy                    Project Co-PI: Daniel L. Rust

The Merchants Memorial Mississippi Rail Bridge and MacArthur Bridge over the Mississippi River make up the most heavily used Mississippi River rail crossing in the country. A large contributor to the popularity of the Merchants Bridge is its accessibility to all railroads. 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, resulting in hundreds of extra miles traveled and more time spent. Repairing the bridge will cost approximately $250 million for construction, which includes the additional costs of closing the bridge during the repairs.

However, the project is set to generate billions of dollars in cost savings in the coming decades. At a discount rate of 7%, improving the Merchants Bridge will lead to nearly $4.7 billion in net benefits over the next 20 years and approximately $6.6 billion in the next 30 years.

These benefits will not only be realized by the transportation industry, they will help the entire region. Therefore, reconstructing the Merchants Bridge will generate economic benefits that will protect the most heavily used Mississippi River rail crossing and provide sizeable benefits to the public, at large.


University of Missouri–St. Louis

The Feasibility of Charging Private Vehicles an Airport Drop-Off and Pick-Up Charge

Project PI: Ray Mundy                     

As transportation network companies (TNCs) like Uber and Lyft drive a change in modern transport behaviors, fewer passengers pay for services such as parking or commercial vehicle drop-off at airports, meaning that what once was a primary revenue source for airports now has a tenuous future. Therefore, airports must find a way to counterbalance the revenue losses created by these changes.

One such solution has been on the rise in Great Britain. With airport drop-off and pick-up charges, private vehicles must pay for the convenience of loading or unloading passengers at the airport entrance. Not only does this practice have the potential to generate millions of dollars in annual revenue, but it also offers a remedy for other maladies such as congestion and safety issues on airport roads. This report examines the effects that drop-off and pick-up charges have had in Great Britain and explores what US airports might expect should they too adopt the practice.

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