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Research Project

An Analysis of the Illinois Maritime Transportation System

Illinois maritime transportation system

The objective of this study was to produce a research report that provides IDOT with an analysis of the Illinois Maritime Transportation System in order to effectively plan, develop and implement maritime into a comprehensive statewide transportation system.

Principal Investigator
Ginsburg, Robert
Research Area(s)
Data Development
Policy Analysis
Funding Source
Illinois Department of Transportation


Illinois has 1,118 miles of navigable waterways passing through or bordering the state. From a commercial transportation perspective, these navigable rivers and Lake Michigan make up the Illinois Maritime Transportation System.  The system primarily transports freight. Passenger travel on these waters is most often for recreation. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) has affirmed the importance of multimodal transportation infrastructure to include all existing modes. IDOT has proposed regaining a role of promotion and support for Illinois ports and inland waterways relative to maritime freight transportation. In the near future, IDOT plans to re-engage port and inland waterway stakeholders to include them in planning efforts that support multimodal opportunities, and to identify major issues and advocate usage of maritime transportation. The inclusion of ports and inland waterways into overall IDOT planning, development, and implementation programs would ensure a truly comprehensive transportation system in Illinois.  Download the "An Analysis of the Illinois Maritime Transportation System" report.