Business Advisory Committee - Spring 2007 Meeting

Wednesday, April 11, 2007



7:30 PM

"On the Road to Safety: Milestones of Progress"

26th Annual William A. Patterson Lecture

Mark V. Rosenker, Chairman, National Transportation Safety Board 

Chairman Rosenker unveiled the NTSB's new initiative to improve highway safety through technology.

Thursday, April 12, 2007



8:00 AM

Call to Order

BAC Chair Justin Zubrod presiding

8:15 AM


Julio Ottino, Dean of the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science

Dean Ottino illustrated his vision of innovation and interdisciplinarity for McCormick's future. He highlighted a new program that builds biotechnology innovation-focused student teams across McCormick, Kellogg, the law school and the medical school.

8:25 AM

New Members Forum – Introduction of new BAC members

8:35 AM

Transportation Center Report - View Presentation (PDF)

Joseph Schofer, Interim Director

The Transporation Center's activities have been accelerating across all fronts. The Transportation & Logistics minor has been growing. Recent TC seminars have included heads of industry and government such as David Neeleman of JetBlue and Mark Rosenker, and the TC just added a new aviation discussion group, The Icarus Society. TC faculty and staff have been instrumental in advocating wise new transportation investments and research paradigms. Finally, the Transportation Center has recently intensified its efforts to develop more win-win collaborations with its Business Advisory Committee. 

8:40 AM

New Members Forum – Introduction of new BAC members

9:00 AM

Library Research Services and Resources Available to the BAC

Roberto Sarmiento, Head of the Transportation Library

The Transportation Library has one of the largest collections of transportation publications in the country and the world. BAC members are entitled to special access to those resources, from scanning and electronically delivering documents to shipping entire books. Perhaps more importantly, the library will assign BAC members a reference librarian to guide them in their search for information.

9:15 AM

Building Research Partnerships: Research Survey Results - View Presentation (PDF)

Matt Cuddy, Research Coordinator

The Transportation Center surveyed BAC members in October 2006 on their operating challenges and research needs. The top three listed concerns were congestion & infrastructure, workforce recruitment & retention, and changing regulations. The TC will work to address BAC concerns by encouraging & funding research at Northwestern, following up on particular companies' survey responses to develop collaborations, and holding workshops & conferences, such as the panel in this BAC meeting.

Summary of research needs (PDF)

9:30 AM

The U.S. and the World Economy

Sergio Rebelo, Tokai Bank Distinguished Professor of International Finance, Kellogg School of Management

The growth of world economies can largely be traced to savings rates, which lead to investment. Professor Rebelo presented projections of the growth and decline of economies in Asia, North America and Europe, based on national savings rates and other factors. He also explained how governmental intervention and institutional change have influenced the recent economic histories of China, India and other countries. 

10:30 AM

Panel: Crisis in Capacity and Infrastructure: Understanding Congestion

David Schulz
, Director of the Infrastructure Technology Institute

Schulz laid the groundwork for the panelists' presentations by reviewing the congested state of our transportation networks, the impacts of that congestion, and the deteriorating conditions of our transportation infrastructure. He then outlined four areas of Northwestern research that bear on these issues: studying congestion and its reliability impacts in particular, network surety and resilience, disruption management, and project success.

Presentation (PDF)

Jim Compton
, Continental Airlines

Compton articulated three main concerns that the airlines share. First, the Air Traffic Control system must be modernized for safety, capacity and environmental protection. Second, the FAA must be funded equitably, with small jets paying their share. Third, continued proper governmental oversight of the industry is critical.

Merritt Lane, Canal Barge

Lane outlined infrastructure challenges in the context of the state of his company and industry. He observed that waterway shipping may be less expensive and less polluting than other modes, depending on the application, and that there actually exists significant slack capacity in the inland waterway system. However, the infrastructure is suffering from a lack of federal investment to match the dedicated tax dollars coming from the industry.

Presentation (PDF)

Dan Murray, American Transportation Research Institute

Murray illustrated the unique challenges that congestion presents the trucking industry. There are 640,000 trucking carriers currently, making for a very competitive market. These carriers operate on very slim margins, are prone to go out of business when fuel prices rise, and are highly motivated to minimize costs. He suggested, therefore, that highway privatization and congestion pricing are likely to have the consequence of diverting truckers to routes where they are unwelcome by the general public.

Presentation (PDF)

Mark Bristol, Union Pacific

Bristol presented a rail carrier's view of congestion and infrastructure challenges. Most rail carriers do not cover their cost of capital, which inhibits infrastructure reinvestment. Furthermore, solving capacity constraint problems is becoming more expensive. Finally, regulation and local resistance also hamper infrastructure investment. 

Frank Sims
, Cargill

Sims, representing a shipper, explained that the most important way congestion impacts his business is in making shipping timing less reliable. He also urged the audience to quickly take the next step to confront and begin to solve the problems we all face: both those we share and those where parts of the transportation community stand on opposite sides.

Presentation (PDF)

12:15 PM

Introduction of Transportation Students

12:25 PM

Closing Remarks

12:30 PM

Adjournment followed by a buffet lunch with a representative group of Northwestern transportation students.