The Cost of Doing Nothing

Detroit and Windsor’s integrated economies have grown and prospered. The Ambassador Bridge alone carries approximately 25% of the value of the merchandise trade between Canada and the United States. These border crossings are not only economically important, they’re also significant in our nation’s post 911 security. Travel time at the border has significantly changed due to the new security issues and with our crossings nearing capacity, this time will only increase significantly.

The growth and prosperity in the Detroit and Windsor corridor is linked by the automotive industry. The bilateral trade has grown faster than the GDP. However, with all this growth, the infrastructure has not grown to accommodate.

Delay costs will lead to higher production costs. Border delays will affect inventory cost. Over the next twenty years all these additional costs will preclude the area’s competitive advantage. The automotive industry is crucial to the economic growth for this area however these added costs will put these jobs (48,900 in Windsor alone) and the local economy (30.8% labor base in Windsor) in jeopardy.

Without the Jobs Tunnel and/or the Gateway Project, Detroit-based automotive production will be less competitive. The cost of automobile components will increase. The additional cost of each new vehicle will be US$200 by 2010. These negative effects added together will be overwhelming.

With the Jobs Tunnel, the region will dramatically increase the ability to retain as many as 9,000 – 12,000 jobs. The economic activity created by this investment is significant.
Research shows that the future economic costs in building this tunnel can be offset or even reversed. The Jobs Tunnel is a unique public-private partnership. It will bring US$419 million in new – and largely private – capital to improve the area’s border system capacity. The 5 year construction plan will positively affect both sides of the border. On the US side, a peak of 547 jobs will pump moneys into the metro Detroit area while on the Canadian side a peak of 893 jobs will improve the Windsor economy.

The benefits of building the Jobs Tunnel are substantial and striking. The operation of the Jobs Tunnel will add US$10.14 million annually (CN$14.15 million), including labor and goods and services purchased and it will require 190 full-time positions for tunnel operations and Canadian Customs.

Perhaps most critical to those who live and work in the southeast Michigan and southwest
Ontario, the Jobs Tunnel will help this region retain automotive manufacturing jobs. The capacity provided by the Jobs Tunnel could prevent the additional loss of nearly US$30 billion in transportation equipment industry output. This could save the region between 9,000 and 12,000 good jobs.

The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership is a partnership between two major private enterprises, Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and Borealis Transportation Infrastructure Trust (BTIT). The Detroit River Tunnel Partnership is committed to the design, financing construction, operation and maintenance of modern, safe and efficient rail tunnels that improve North American trade flows through the Windsor-Detroit corridor.

CPR is North America’s first transcontinental railway, and is the only transcontinental carrier with direct service to the U.S. Eastern Seaboard. BTIT is owned by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), one of Canada’s largest pension funds serving more than 300,000 active and retired local government employees, and a leading Canadian investor in infrastructure projects.

This report was based on work done by Michael H. Belzer, Ph.D., President,
Sound Science, Inc., Ann Arbor, MI. Find more information and resources regarding the The Jobs Tunnel at thejobstunnel.com.

Automotive GPS System

Many of the sophisticated control systems of modern automobiles require measurements of the vehicle’s attitude. Commercial GPS attitude systems are the method of choice for measuring attitude in many aircraft and farm vehicle applications, but are not commonly used on automobiles. The prohibitive aspects of commercial GPS attitude systems on a car include their relatively high cost and significant loss of integrity and signal availability in urban road environments.

Modern automobiles are equipped with a variety of control systems that improve passenger safety and comfort. Such systems include anti-lock brakes, differential steering and cruise control. Recently, automotive GPS systems have also been added to many cars for use in positioning purposes, allowing the driver to view his/her position on a map, and receive directions in real time. The advent of GPS receivers in cars has initiated efforts to enhance existing control systems, and to create new ones such as car-following and lane keeping control. Many of these control systems require measurements of the vehicle’s attitude.

Some other kind interesting integrations and functions of automotive GPS system are that the color LCD screens on some automotive navigation systems can also be used to display television broadcasts or DVD movies. A few systems integrate (or communicate) with mobile phones for hands-free talking and SMS messaging (i.e., using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi). Automotive navigation systems can include personal information management for meetings, which can be combined with a traffic and public transport information system.

Having many advantages automotive GPS systems have some of evils also as a number of road accidents have been attributed to misdirection by satnav systems. On May 11, 2007, a driver followed satnav instructions in the dark and her car was hit by a train on a rail crossing that was not shown on the system. In Exton, Hampshire, the County Council erected a sign warning drivers to ignore their “sat nav” system and to take another route, because the street was too narrow for vehicular traffic, and property damage resulted from vehicles getting stuck.

As the automotive GPS system has many types a very interesting type of automotive GPS system is portable GPS system. This type of GPS navigation device is not permanently integrated into the vehicle, having only a simple bracket to mount the device on the surface of the dashboard and powered via the car cigarette lighter. This class of GPS unit does not require professional installation and can typically be used as handheld device, too.

Benefits of this type of GPS unit include low cost as well as the ability to move them easily to other vehicles. Their portability means they are easily stolen if left inside the vehicle but cannot be stolen if the driver takes it with him when he gets out. Furthermore not having a compass, accelerometer or inputs from the vehicle’s speed sensors, means that they cannot navigate as accurately by dead reckoning as some built- in devices when there’s no GPS signal. More modern portable devices such as the TomTom 920 have an inbuilt accelerometer to try to address this.

Auto Transport Now More Convenient, Affordable and Flexible

A new generation of smart, customer-focused transport companies are making nationwide auto transport more convenient, safe and affordable than ever before. By leveraging the power and convenience of the internet, and by combining both short-distance truck and long-distance rail service options, they also offer the flexibility to use the shipping mode that best meets your price and timing requirements.

Crisp, user-friendly web sites allow used car dealers, and fleet managers to obtain an instant price quote and estimated transit time for door-to-door pickup and delivery anywhere in the United States. Most sites include a convenient pull-down menu featuring frequently-asked questions, as well as downloadable information about shipping tips, terms and conditions. Registered users can also track shipments online. Depending on location, timing, and destination, cars can be transported by truck and/or rail service.

Choosing a quality auto transport company with strong financial backing and industry experience ensures door to door pickup and delivery of your vehicles will be managed by a reputable, licensed and fully-insured service carrier. Your vehicles will be picked up by an auto transporter using a multi-car tractor trailer and transported directly to destination for expedited delivery, or to a terminal to be loaded on a rail carrier for standard delivery. A cost-effective terminal to terminal option may also be available. In that case you’ll be required to drop-off and pickup vehicles at the given truck or rail terminal.

Shipping by rail is affordable and becoming more popular as it gets easier to do. Rail transport is also considered more environmentally-friendly than trucking. In fact, railroads now move a ton of freight nearly 457 miles for each gallon of diesel fuel used. If being transported by rail, your vehicle will be loaded onto a modern multi-level rail car, some of which can hold up to three times more vehicles than a truck. Automotive rail cars are fully enclosed and the vehicles are securely fastened using straps and tire chocks to prevent damage in-transit.

How do you know which auto transport provider to use?

* Start with a reputable auto transport company. Find a transporter that is listed with the Better Business Bureau and is financially strong. They should be licensed with the FMCSA [http://li-public.fmcsa.dot.gov/LIVIEW/pkg_menu.prc_menu] as a broker or carrier.

* Look for an auto transporter that offers the flexibility of combining both truck rail service options. With rising fuel prices, shipping by rail can help significantly reduce your overall shipping cost.

* Visit the auto transporter’s web site. Does it include easy-to-use online tools to obtain an instant price quote and estimated transit time? Can you access frequently-asked questions and additional information about shipping tips, terms and conditions? Does it also offer the ability to track shipments online?

* Work only with an auto transport company who uses reputable, licensed and fully-insured trucking and rail service providers.

* If working with an environmentally responsible company is important to you, look for auto transport providers who are SmartWaysm Certified. [http://www.epa.gov/smartway/transport/partner-list/index.htm].

* Ask how the auto transporter will work with you to quickly and equitably resolve any claim, if damage occurs to your vehicle.

* Thoroughly inspect your vehicle prior to pickup. Carefully inspect the exterior and interior, as well as all fluid levels, operating systems and lights. Note any pre-existing scratches, dents, dings or other problems so you can determine if there was a change in vehicle condition as a result of transportation. Remember to also disarm any safety alarms and remove all personal items from the vehicle.

Make your final selection of an auto transport company based on which one offers the most convenient, affordable and flexible solution that best meets your price and timing requirements.