Center for Transportation Research receives grant from CN’s “Stronger Communities” Fund

The Center for Transportation Research, at The University of Texas at Austin, is extremely pleased to have received a grant from the Canadian National Railway Company’s (CN) Community Investment Program “CN Stronger Communities Fund” in December 2012. The grant is intended to support further research into “Railroads and Incompatible Land Uses: Continuing Research Into Causes and Effects” by CTR researchers Lisa Loftus-Otway (Research Engineer/ Scientist Associate IV and Attorney-at-Law) and Dan Seedah (Research Associate III).

Heights, Houston, Texas

Much has been said recently to raise the national consciousness about the dismal state of America’s infrastructure. By contrast, the public has little understanding of the serious threats to American’s freight system caused in large part by the relentless intrusion of incompatible land uses, especially in America’s burgeoning megapolitans and super regions.

The introduction of incompatible land uses around freight corridors often results in conflicts between those uses. Population growth, rising incomes, and other aspects of economic growth have all led to increased competition for the land resources underlying the freight transportation infrastructure. Incompatibility between land uses and transportation projects is a growing challenge in planning for a sustainable and equitable American urban form.

In many areas, heavily trafficked freight routes lie adjacent to land uses, including urban, quiet exurban, and rural communities that are often noise, light, and vibration sensitive. Flawed transportation policies – many linked to single modes – have negatively impacted property values and the balance between industrial and residential developments.

Silo Point, Baltimore Maryland

Lisa has conducted two major pieces of work in this area of freight and land use: TxDOT Project 0-5546 (Protecting and Preserving Rail Corridors Against Encroachment of Incompatible Use) and the National Cooperative Freight Research Program Report NCFRP 16 (Preserving and Protecting Freight Infrastructure and Routes) and the website for the Transportation Research Board.  Lisa has also presented this work at multiple conferences over the past five years.  Dan is currently working on a truck-rail intermodal toolkit to assist planners with evaluating public policy considerations and the impact of capital investments on truck and rail freight corridors in Texas (TxDOT Project 0-6692).   Lisa and Dan envisage that Dan’s work will also tie into the research that CNs grant is supporting, with an end-goal to apply results nationally.

CN, the Canadian National Railway Company and its operating railway subsidiaries, spans Canada and mid-America, from the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to the Gulf of Mexico, serving the ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the key metropolitan areas of Toronto, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., Green Bay, Wis., Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America.

For more information about CTR’s work in railways and land usage, contact Lisa Loftus-Otway at

Read the 0-5545-1 technical report, “Protecting and Preserving Rail Corridors Against Encroachment of Incompatible Uses”  (PDF file)

Read the National Cooperative Freight Research Program (NCFRP) report, “Preserving and Protecting Freight Infrastructure and Routes” (PDF File)

For information about Envision Freight

For more information about CN visit

For more information about their Community Investment Program visit

Posted by clair  |  Category : Awards