Dr. Scott Grasman, associate professor of engineering management and systems
engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology, is helping the
Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) develop software to assess future
projects involving the state’s waterways.
Grasman’s work with MoDOT is part of the transportation department’s study
of freight optimization and development in Missouri. MoDOT hopes to develop a
freight and logistics development process that focuses on waterways, but is
transferable to other modes of transportation, such as trucking and
The tool developed by Grasman scores each proposed improvement project based
on a variety of factors, including economic impact, impact on existing
operations, urgency of need and available funding.
“MoDOT has a limited amount of resources, so they have to determine which
projects will have the greatest impact,” Grasman says. “We’ve looked at the
status of the industry, and what Missouri has to offer in terms of waterways
Grasman says there currently are 12 inland ports in Missouri, and there is
potential for increased capacity and use, especially with the growing
production of ethanol and other biofuels in the region.
“Missouri is uniquely positioned in that it has the Missouri and Mississippi
Rivers, and it’s centrally located in the Midwest,” MoDOT has awarded $125,000
in funding since February, 2007. The funding originated from MoDOT but was
given to Grasman through TranSystems,
a Kansas City based transportation consulting company hired by MoDOT. Grasman
also has been given some matching funds from Missouri S&T’s National
University Transportation Center.
Grasman is being assisted on the project by Dr. Ganesh K. Venayagamoorthy,
associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Missouri S&T,
and graduate student Pranav Akolkar.
Grasman says the project now is in its final stages. The tool has been
presented to MoDOT, which will provide feedback that may lead to