Progressive Railroading


Newsletter Sign Up
Stay updated on news, articles and information for the rail industry

All fields are required.

Rail News Home Rail Industry Trends


Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

Texas A&M Transportation Institute issues NAFTA meta-analysis

Yesterday, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) released a meta-analysis of research on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which details the agreement's impact on trade, energy and the environment.

The TTI research team compiled the study, "NAFTA 20 Years After," after reviewing numerous research reports published about NAFTA during the past decade. Researchers identified points of consensus on the outcomes of NAFTA implementation and recommendations for improvement.

For example, NAFTA has helped harmonize climate change policies and efficient trilateral energy production supply chains, researchers concluded. That has contributed to U.S.-Canada surface trade doubling and U.S.-Mexico trade quadrupling in the 20 years since the agreement was signed.

The study also provides an overview of broadly agreed-upon barriers holding back further economic success. Key recommendations addressed in the meta-analysis include:

• Investment needs. Infrastructure development and process modernization have not kept pace with growth, creating bottlenecks and congestion, particularly at land ports of entry. The modernization of land border-crossing practices, the use of technology and the addition of key infrastructure could address the issue, according to the study.

• Harmonization of truck size and weight regulations. Regulations differ among the NAFTA nations and within individual countries. Establishing standards would benefit all countries in facilitating cross-border traffic.

• Fully implementing NAFTA trucking provisions. The failure to fully implement such provisions has led to unnecessary drayage operations at land ports of entry, which in turn generates additional empty trips and wastes human resources. A holistic solution is needed to address the issue, the study states.

• A coherent combination of policies to mitigate high levels of greenhouse gas produced by truck and freight-rail transportation. A coordinated approach involving subsidies, regulation and emissions pricing would help lower costs and reduce emissions.

• Preparation for changes in North American energy production and consumption trends. The three NAFTA countries need to synchronize their renewable energy standards, trade renewable electricity credits, improve cross-border transmission capacity and use NAFTA institutions for data collection, according to the analysis.

The report was released at the NAFTANEXT Summit, which is being held this week Chicago. To read the entire study, visit

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/24/2014