Ohio has always been the crossroads of America. Today, 47% of the US population and 52% of its manufacturing capacity are within a day’s truck drive of Columbus. And as container traffic increases from East Asia through the Panama Canal and from Southeast Asia through the Suez Canal, Ohio stands to grow again as the inland distribution point for these global connections.
Major investments are underway to capture this opportunity. In 2010, Norfolk Southern (NS) completed the $290 million Heartland Corridor project to clear bridges and tunnels for double stacked containers from Norfolk to Virginia. NS partnered with public actors in the Columbus region and the state to construct the Rickenbacker Inland Port, including a new terminal and complimentary logistics campus.
As part of its National Gateway expansion, CSX developed a hub for intermodal trains in North Baltimore and a “spoke” for that hub at Buckeye Yard in Columbus. This $850 million public and private investment will expand bridge and tunnel clearances to allow double stack containers between several Atlantic deep water ports and the Midwest. We helped stakeholders across Ohio understand how and where to unlock the economic development potential of freight rail investments.
We were a key partner with former Governor Ted Strickland on the BUILT (Broadening Urban Investment to Leverage Transit) in Ohio project, created to develop strategic investment scenarios for COD and TOD in Columbus and Cleveland, as well as TOD in Cincinnati. The COD scenarios analyzed underutilized and environmentally degraded development sites where public action could support reuse as logistics or value-added manufacturing.
More recently, we worked with private and public stakeholders in Central Ohio to assess the impact of in-yard technology, public-private planning, and infrastructure upgrades on freight efficiency, economic development, and the environment.