Transportation Planning to Support Economic Development in Minnesota

Principal Investigator(s):

Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow (Retired), Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Michael Iacono, Former Research Fellow, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Traditional policies oriented toward the use of transportation infrastructure to promote economic development have focused on infrastructure as a magnet for firm location, often with little regard for the characteristic of specific industries. This project seeks to advance the state of knowledge of the relationship between transportation and economic development by investigating how firms in competitive industry clusters use transportation networks and what role the networks play in the formation and growth of these clusters. The approach combined quantitative and qualitative techniques to geographically identify competitive industry clusters and to investigate the role of transportation. The U.S. Cluster Mapping tool was used to identify competitive clusters by employment location quotients in 25 Minnesota metropolitan and micropolitan regions. Twelve competitive clusters were selected for further study, and in-depth interviews and site visits were conducted with businesses in each cluster to explore the competitive importance of different modes of transportation. These methods can yield valuable insights into how transportation functions as an input within competitive industry clusters and how it can inform economic development strategies tailored to certain locations and industries.

Project details:

  • Project number: 2014006
  • Start date: 04/2013
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Planning