The TI is a Canadian leader in research on many complex transportation issues. The TI is active in addressing the problems of individual transport modes and the concerns of shippers. Motor carrier studies have included an assessment of competition between Canadian and US carriers in transborder trucking. The TI has generated inter- and intra-provincial trucking and many award-winning studies on issues such as cabotage and vehicle weights and dimensions regulations.
Railway transport studies have included an overall documentation of the industry, an examination of railway short line operations, analysis of railway taxation, and comparison of Canada/US competition in long haul railway operations to the Pacific Coast.
The major focus in air transport continues to be the economic impact of airports on the communities they serve. In addition, research continues to examine the possibilities for expanding the regions air cargo operations and specific initiatives like Winnport.
Marine transport has been addressed less regularly, but recent requests have included studies on the competitiveness of the Port of Vancouver and the Great Lakes shipping route. Increasingly, inter-modalism and container traffic have been an important focus of ongoing investigations.
For more than three decades, the transport of agricultural products has been a specialty. Research on grain transport includes projects on the competition of US routes to transport Canadian grain, the effects of branchline abandonment on road cost, the fallout from the collapse of government subsidies, and the rise of agricultural trucking.
In respect of other agricultural commodities, the TI has conducted extensive studies on refrigerated transport and examined transport problems and opportunities for products ranging from potatoes, to pulse/specialty crops and compacted hay.
Each fall, the TI holds its Annual 'Fields on Wheels' Agri-business Logistics Conference. Senior industry, government, and academic representatives are invited to address the pressing concerns specific to this industry.
TI members have served on numerous Task Forces, like the recently completed Mid-Continent International Trade Corridor Task Force, and carried out major studies for the province of Manitoba providing forecasting and analysis of trade and transportation trends and employment opportunities. As a result of this work, the Institute has developed general expertise in urban transport and regional development, particularly with reference to Western Canada.
Drawing on expertise in the faculty of Engineering, the TI conducts research relating to technical aspects of transport. This has included metallurgical examination of rail deterioration, analysis of the quality of concrete used in manufacturing concrete rail ties, research on highway pavement, and similarly on the design and development of highway traffic monitoring systems.
TI activities cover not only transport but the wider logistics process including materials handling, warehousing, inventory control, order processing, and customer service. The current logistics revolution is having a profound impact on marketing and manufacturing. The TI is increasingly involved in this area though professional associations, teaching, and involvement in the logistics process of individual enterprises.