Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Regional Innovation Clusters and Economic Competitiveness: A Forum on Lessons Learned from Regional Cluster Initiatives

mplsskylineimage.jpgOn September 25th the Humphrey School hosted a forum on "Regional Innovation Clusters and Economic Competitiveness: Lessons Learned from Regional Cluster Initiatives." This forum featured presentations and lessons learned from regional innovation cluster initiatives in Minnesota, Oregon, South Carolina, and Puebla, Mexico. Speakers also discussed a new web-based Cluster Mapping Tool being developed by the Harvard Business School's Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness for the U.S. Economic Development Administration and explored job and economic development strategies through state, local and educational policies.

The forum was sponsored by the State and Local Policy Program of the University of Minnesota's Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs with financial support from the University of Minnesota's Metropolitan Consortium. A video of the forum and agenda with links to the presentations, GREATER MSP video and supporting materials follow.

Part 1. Welcome, Greater MSP, Cluster Mapping, Regional Cluster Initiatives in US and Mexico.
Part 2. Minnesota Cluster Initiatives, Where Do We Go From Here?

Moderator: Lee Munnich, Senior Fellow and Director, State and Local Policy Program, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

8:30 am Welcome. Dr. Eric Schwartz, Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
Opening Remarks.
A New Focus on Competitiveness in the Greater MSP Region Michael Langley, CEO, GREATER MSP
- Welcome to GREATER MSP video

8:50 The U.S. Cluster Mapping Project: A Tool for Regional Economic Competitiveness
Richard Bryden, Director of Information Products, Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness, Harvard Business School

9:10 Regional Cluster Initiatives in the U.S. and Mexico
Oregon - Elizabeth Redman, Senior Consultant, IHS, for the Oregon Business Council
- Oregon Business Plan Summary Framework (2012)
- Mobilizing Oregon Clusters: Private and Public Partnering for Economic Growth (2012)
South Carolina - George Fletcher, Executive Director, New Carolina; Neil McLean, Incoming Executive Director, New Carolina
Puebla, Mexico - Burke Murphy, Sintonia Executive and Faculty, La Universidad Popular Autonoma del Estado de Puebla (UPAEP); Dr. Alfredo Miranda, Rector (President) of UPAEP

10:10 Break

10:25 Minnesota Cluster Initiatives
Regional Cluster Initiative: CEO to CEO Conversations - Matt Schmit, Humphrey School, University of Minnesota
- CEO to CEO Conversations: Mayors Talk with Business Leaders About Growing Jobs in Minnesota (2011)
Medical devices and life sciences - Jeremy Lenz, BioBusiness Alliance
Defense and energy industries - Chip Laingen, Defense Alliance
Robotics - Andrew Borene, Executive Director, Robotics Alley

11:25 Where do we go from here?
Jim Hovland, Mayor, City of Edina; Co-chair Regional Council of Mayors/ULI
Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President, Minnesota High Technology Council
Mark Phillips, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
Mary Rothchild, Associate Vice Chancellor, Minnesota State Colleges and University System (MnSCU)
Dr. Thomas Fisher, Dean, College of Design, School of Architecture, University of Minnesota; Co-chair, University of Minnesota Metropolitan Consortium

12:00 pm Adjourn

Friday, September 14, 2012

Innovations in Road Safety Forum Video posted

For those that were unable to attend the Innovations in Road Safety Forum on August 23, the video is available here

Featured speakers included FHWA Administrator Mendez, Senator Klobuchar and former U.S. Representative Oberstar. Discussion focused on the innovations and improvements for road safety underway in Minnesota.

Friday, August 3, 2012

August 23 Oberstar forum: Innovations in Road Safety

Please join us for "Innovations in Road Safety," the next Forum hosted by James L. Oberstar. Featured speakers will include Sen. Amy Klobuchar and FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez

Thursday, August 23, 2012
3:00 - 5:00 pm
University Hotel-Minneapolis - Humphrey Ballroom
615 Washington Ave. SE

Road fatalities and serious injuries in the United States are not only tragedies for the families and friends of the victims but also a significant economic cost - both to our nation's health care system and in lost productivity. In recent years, technology and policy innovations have helped to reduce traffic fatalities, and they have the potential to further reduce road deaths in the future.

Former Congressman James L. Oberstar, chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee from 2007 to 2011, will host a forum with U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez to discuss innovations in road safety. The event will also highlight U.S. state initiatives, including the Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths program, and what they are doing to reduce traffic fatalities and serious injuries.

Click here to register

James L. Oberstar (host and moderator), Former U.S. Congressman
Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senator, Minnesota
Victor Mendez, Administrator, Federal Highway Administration, USDOT

Discussion Panel
Tom Sorel, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation
Tom Horan, Research Director, Center for Excellence in Rural Safety, University of Minnesota
Max Donath, Director, Intelligent Transportation Systems Institute, University of Minnesota

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Minnesota annual traffic deaths drop for fourth consecutive year

Are efforts to improve Minnesota's traffic safety, such as primary seat belt laws, texting bans and similar measures having a positive effect? Well, while simple correlation does not indicate causation, an impressive trend is developing. I just received the following notice:

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety has released its annual summary of traffic crashes, Minnesota Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2011. According to the report, a total of 368 people died on Minnesota roads in 2011 and 1,159 were seriously injured. This represents a fourth consecutive annual drop in road fatalities and the lowest death count on record since 1944, when 356 were killed.

DPS traffic safety officials say smarter, safer driving is a critical factor for the continuing decline in road deaths. Seat belt compliance is at a record high, and alcohol-impaired crashes have dropped in recent years. DWI arrests have also fallen, indicating that more drivers are thinking twice about drinking and driving. Important legislation has also factored, including the ban on texting and the primary seat belt law.

More detail can be found in the Department of Public Safety's News Release

And those who want to really look into the data can go to the Crash Facts Report

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Herbert Mohring, a distinguished transport economist and mentor at the University of Minnesota, passed away at the age of 83 on June 4, 2012. Mohring pioneered the theory of congestion pricing. Here is the argument for congestion pricing in his own words.

By Herbert Mohring
Herb Mohring.bmp

Every adult American has had the unpleasant experience of being stuck in a traffic jam. Our highways seem, at times, to be caught in a dreadful gridlock. Demand for new highways is constantly growing and the search is on for ways of meeting this demand. While the Minneapolis-St. Paul area is not yet as congested as, say Southern California, our traffic problems do seem to be getting worse. What, if anything, can we or should we do about this problem? A favorite of modern day urban planners is to provide alternative modes of transportation such as buses or light rail systems. Such systems require very substantial subsidies with fares typically accounting for less than a quarter of operating expenses. In spite of substantial investments in alternative modes of transportation, public transportation use continues to decline in the United States.

Congestion on roadways is an inevitable consequence of the way we charge travelers. In choosing when and how to travel, every road user takes into account the delays they expect, but nobody considers the delays they impose on others. It is entirely rational and sensible for each user to ignore costs imposed on others. But these costs can be sizable. Think of a congested highway in which cars are traveling bumper to bumper. If we add a car in the middle, we delay all the cars behind that car by the time required for a single car to travel one car length. This is a small cost for each delayed car but it is borne by every automobile that is delayed. In fact, we can roughly estimate the costs imposed on others by adding a single automobile to a congested roadway. This cost is the product of the number of automobiles behind the added automobile and the time required to travel a single car length. Say we think of adding an automobile in the middle of the pack. The time that that automobile takes to reach its destination is the product of the number of cars ahead of it and the amount of time to travel one car length. So, the cumulative delay imposed on others is exactly equal to the travel time of a typical automobile.

Each traveler takes into account the time required to travel for himself or herself but rationally ignores the equal time cost imposed on others. The solution is to confront people with the true costs of travel in congested time periods. Tolls are an obvious way of confronting people with the time costs. With modern technology, it is possible to use transponders to make collection easy. A possible way of solving the congestion problem is to buy tolls at peak times of travel on specified lanes of highways or even the entire highway. It is important the tolls be higher for peak times travel than for non-peak time travel in order to induce people to change their travel times to do so. It might even make sense to, in the toll revenues, to subsidize non-peak time travel! Alternatively, toll revenues could be used to subsidize buses or other forms of mass transit. Such subsidies are preferable to our current use of sales and property tax revenues to
subsidize mass transit.

Congestion charges do invite heated (and often misinformed) debate. Sometimes they are regarded as unfairly taxing people who simply need to travel at peak time. This criticism is not particularly well-founded. The whole point of congestion charges is to make travel easier for those who simply need to travel at peak times. So, much of the tolls paid by such individuals is returned to them in the form of quicker and easier commutes.

Professor Herbert Mohring of the University of Minnesota did much of the pioneering work in figuring out how large tolls should be. His best estimate was that an optimal toll on Interstate 35W would be of the rate of 20 cents per mile or about $2.00 to $3.00 for travel from the southern suburbs to Minneapolis. This is not a particularly onerous charge (it is less than the cost of parking in much of Minneapolis) and would go a long way to solving our congestion problem. (Some of his research can be found in a paper titled "Congestion" which appeared in pp. 181-222 of Jose A Gomez-Ibanez, William B. Tye, and Clifford Winston, Essays in Transportation Economics and Policy: A Handbook in Honor of John R. Meyer, Washington, DC: Brookings,1999.)

Friday, May 11, 2012

Video uploaded! Joins us for The Future of Transportation Finance: Who Will Pay? A Forum Hosted by James L. Oberstar

For those who missed, or would like to re-visit, this event, a video recording is now available here (please note there are 2 parts)

An opportunity to hear from the CEO of BNSF Railway, the CEO of AASHTO, and Mr. Oberstar!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012 from 8:30 AM to 11:30 AM (CT)
Humphrey School of Public Affairs
Cowles Auditorium
301 19th Avenue S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455

RSVP through EventBrite

As gas prices rise and vehicles become more fuel efficient, gas tax revenues have not kept up with funding requirements for the nation's transportation system. The question is who will pay to maintain and make necessary improvements in the nation's transportation system in the future? Congress and the Administration are currently stymied on the transportation funding problem, and states are struggling to find new funding solutions. James L. Oberstar, Member of Congress (1975 to 2011) and Chair of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee (2007 to 2011), will host a forum to discuss the future of transportation funding and who will pay. The speakers will discuss what should be the basic principles for funding transportation, how we do it now, and how we should do it in the future. The forum will include a participant discussion led by Mr. Oberstar.

Host: James L. Oberstar


Jack Basso, Chief Operating Officer, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

Matthew Rose, Chairman and CEO, BNSF Railway Co.

Stephen Lockwood, Senior VP, PB Consult, Parsons Brinckerhoff

James Whitty, Manager, Office of Innovative Partnerships and Alternative Funding, Oregon Department of Transportation

Discussion Panel:

Tom Sorel, Commissioner, Minnesota Department of Transportation

Janet Kavinoky, Executive Director, Transportation & Infrastructure, US Chamber of Commerce

Bill Goins, Worldwide Account Manager, FedEx Services

John Hausladen, President and CEO, Minnesota Truckers Association

Margaret Donahoe, Executive Director, Minnesota Transportation Alliance

Participant Discussion

Click here to RSVP

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Torger Reve on Global Knowledge Hubs - May 15

Register Here

Torger Reve
, international expert on economic competitiveness, will present his research on Norwegian Global Knowledge Hubs: superclusters of knowledge-based industrial development. He will explain how nations, regions and cities must now compete to be the most attractive locations for knowledge-intensive industries. Following the presentation, a panel of Minnesotan experts will discuss the implications of knowledge hubs for Minnesota's economic competitiveness. The audience will also be asked to join the discussion during a question and answer session with Torger and the Minnesota panel.

About Torger Reve: Professor Reve has extensively researched Norway's maritime global knowledge hub and will describe how Norway developed its unique global position by combining three major factors: ocean, technology, and knowledge. Reve's Norwegian perspective will be used to present implications for Minnesota. He will explain how interaction between organizations with different specialties is essential for innovation and is a key driver for knowledge transfer among enterprises and how nations, regions, and cities must now compete to be the most attractive locations for knowledge-intensive industries. Professor Reve is the Wilh Wilhelmsen Chair in Strategy and Industrial Competitiveness at the BI Norwegian Business School in Oslo, Norway. He also heads the Center for Maritime Competitiveness. Reve has a Ph.D. in marketing from Northwestern University. He also holds two masters degrees in business administration from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen, Norway, and a B.A. degree in liberal arts from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, Minnesota.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CERS Study Shows Fewer Deaths, Fewer Tax Dollars Spent Since Minnesota Primary Seat Belt Law Passed

On March 26, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety released a study conducted by the Center for Excellence in Rural Safety that showed Minnesota has had 68 fewer traffic deaths since the state's seat belt law changed from a secondary to primary law in June 2009.

Researchers examined crash and health statistics from the State of Minnesota to determine that, controlling for all other factors, including Minnesota's already declining traffic fatalities, 68 fewer people had died and there were 320 fewer incapacitating injuries from traffic crashes, than would have been expected had the law not been changed.

These saved lives and serious injuries meant that $45 million was not spent on hospital bills, of which nearly $10 million would have been paid directly by Minnesota payers through programs like such as Medicare, Medicaid and other government insurance programs.

A longer description of the work can be found on the Humphrey School website.

The full study is currently available on website of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Monday, February 6, 2012

Humphrey School Supports MnDOT Task Forces on Mileage-Based User Fees and Public-Private Partnerships

PPP Report Dec 2011.jpgThe Humphrey School's State and Local Policy Program facilitated the process and provided technical support for two Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) task forces in 2011. The two reports are now available on-line:

Report of Minnesota's Mileage-Based User Fee Policy Task Force

The Mileage-Based User Fee (MBUF) Policy Task Force appointed by MnDOT Commissioner Tom Sorel, was formed to identify and evaluate issues related to potential future implementation of an MBUF system in Minnesota. Under a potential MBUF system, drivers would be charged based on the number of miles they drive, regardless of the type of energy source used to propel the vehicle, and instead of being charged by the gallon for fuel consumed in operating a vehicle. Over a period of six months, the Task Force discussed and evaluated the overall MBUF concept and related issues, determined benefits and concerns, considered potential system design options and preferences and formulated policy objectives, findings and recommendations. The Task Force was comprised of 25 Minnesotans representing a broad range of experience in the transportation industry, from both a public and private sector standpoint, the economic development community and a privacy expert.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Transportation: Policy Task Force Recommendations

The Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Transportation Policy Task Force was convened by MnDOT in April 2011 to identify and examine the potential for expanding the use of PPPs in Minnesota, and to recommend strategies for implementation. The Task Force concluded that many factors are affecting Minnesota's ability to build and maintain its transportation infrastructure, and these limitations are negatively impacting mobility and economic growth. If appropriately implemented, PPPs can effectively leverage traditional resources used for transportation infrastructure and significantly contribute to the timely and cost effective delivery of projects. However, PPP tools should only be used to supplement, and not replace, traditional funding sources. The PPP Policy Task Force consisted of two dozen members that included state legislators, local-elected officials, transportation, business, labor, environmental and community leaders.

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