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Intermodal Freight Curriculum Development

The objective of this research project was to develop a curriculum in which graduate students interested in freight management, freight professionals, and stakeholders working with freight professionals can be exposed to the policies, concepts and methods utilized in managing intermodal transportation systems.

This introductory course was oriented around subjects that are timely and critical relevant to intermodal freight transportation. The course development and refinement was a joint activity involving Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis. The course was initially offered as a graduate course (spring 2009 semester) at Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis (using distance-based learning technologies). The offering also included a field trip with tours of an air courier distribution center (FedEx), major railroad yard (BNSF), port of Memphis, a water terminal area and a towboat operating on the Mississippi River.

Following completion of the course, the curriculum was evaluated, taking into consideration student comments and feedback from course instructors.  Feedback was very positive regarding this first offering of the course. The next course offering may be expanded to include other institutions using distance-based learning technologies and the curriculum will be modified to suit transportation industry continuing education needs. The researchers are interested in condensing the course into an executive management course and/or a primer for interested parties to provide basic information about how the intermodal freight transportation industry operates, its impact on the economy and societal well-being, and challenges and opportunities to its future success.

Supplemental Notes: This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program (University of Memphis, Intermodal Freight Transportation Institute).