IET Research

Here is some past research work being done by Industrial Engineering faculty and students here at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Assessing the Learning Gains of Manufacturing Students in an Integrated Hands-on Curriculum-Collaboration with University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Michigan Technological University

  • The Industrial Engineering Technology (IET) B.S. program at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) offers various IET courses for its students. Some of these courses have hands on learning components like MILL Model developed by the Wayne State University. The MILL Model is structured to address industry-identified gaps in hands-on manufacturing experience. To assess student outcomes under the MILL Model, an experimental design was used to develop a proprietary standardized assessment instrument, to provide direct assessment of student learning on the competencies spanned by the MILL Model. As a partner in this project, we participate in testing to compare the learning gains achieved under the MILL model, with the learning gains attained by comparison groups studying the same content but without participating in a MILL Model-type curriculum. For the comparison schools, students are selected to participate from among those enrolled in courses covering the concepts listed in the MILL Curricular Framework.


Reshoring and its impact on Transportation Infrastructure & US Economy-Collaboration with University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • Reshoring is expected to have a tremendous impact on the US economy and on the utilization of the existing transportation infrastructures of the country. It is an immense need to identify the potential companies in the US that will bring their manufacturing operations back in the US and to identify the impact on US economy and transportation. The change in location and subsequent alteration in product supply chain due to reshoring will cause changes in infrastructure needs to address issues such as capacity constraints, delays, and congestions.
    In this research we develop a reshorability index & Manufacturing location quotients. This research also develops tools and techniques to assess the impact of potential reshoring on transportation infrastructures. The research output assists public officials in making strategic freight facility investment decisions that support supply chain efficiencies, promotes business growth, and fosters economic development.


Education and Workforce Development in Transportation

  • The project reviews practices conducted at various levels of education, K through professional, to determine best practices of getting students interested in pursuing freight transportation careers. The conclusion of the project will be a guidebook to assist in directing students into these careers. The objective of this project is to examine freight transportation careers and examine the educational paths that lead to specific careers. The goal is to develop a guidebook for educators, K-professional, that will assist in identifying activities and guidance to lead more individuals into freight transportation careers.

Addressing MAP-21 Freight Objectives using GPS Data-Collaboration with University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin-Madison, The American Research Transportation Institute

  • Freight planning and operation perspectives of MAP-21 includes the development of a national freight plan to address freight congestion bottlenecks, connectivity enhancement of major intermodal centers, and determination of barriers to improved freight performance. Currently state DOTs are at a very early stage in their development of freight performance measures to meet MAP-21 objectives. Some states are reviewing freight performance measures and data collection to assess their feasibility in developing freight performance measures. The goal of this project is to develop freight performance measures to meet MAP-21 objectives for the CFIRE region.
    Major goals of the project is to: (a) enumerate best practices used by public and private agencies for freight operations, (b) provide a set of measures that can provide insight into functioning of the multifaceted freight transportation network, and (c) examine the CFIRE freight network and develop freight performance measures to address MAP-21 objectives.

Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE) – Base Fund for Phase II

  • The National Center for Freight and Infrastructure Research and Education (CFIRE), as a National UTC, works to address the major issues of freight transportation via its research, education, technology transfer, and outreach programs and through collaboration with the Mid-America Freight Coalition, a ten-state regional organization that cooperates in the planning, operation, preservation, and improvement of transportation infrastructure.


Realigning Multimodal Freight Networks in Response to International Capacity Expansion-Collaboration with University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin-Superior, University of Illinois-Chicago

  • Following Panama Canal expansion, container flows for imports and exports will likely shift to eastern and Gulf coast ports and the increased freight volumes may strain the already congested intermodal transportation system. This project examines how expansion of the Panama Canal may redistribute trade volumes across the intermodal system, including ports, waterways, railroads, and highways.
    This research will assess potential effects of the Canal’s expansion on the freight networks in the South and Midwest and identify rational strategies for the nation’s multimodal network in response to this international capacity expansion.


A Multi-Modal Freight Safety, Security and Environmental Routing Tool-Collaboration with University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Memphis, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Superior

  • Every day, freight shipments in the United States use a network comprised of multiple modes.  These shipments often transport large volumes of dangerous cargo that pose significant health and environmental risks.  In the Hazardous Materials Program Evaluation report, prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2000, it was estimated that at least 300 million annual hazardous materials shipments are made, carrying approximately 3.2 billion tons.  This number is expected to grow over time.
    While carriers may desire to select routes that are safe, secure, and sensitive to the environment, they are also concerned with moving cargo as efficiently (economically, timely and reliably) as possible.  Often this results in conflicting objectives, not only among various risk factors, but also between risk and efficiency criteria.  The challenge, therefore, is to identify preferred hazardous materials shipment routes that are desirable when taking these factors and their relative importance into consideration.  Moreover, it would be desirable to have available a tool that could be widely accessible, can be utilized in a practical manner, and provide visually appealing results.
    This research initiative will develop an integrated method for assessing hazmat transport safety, security, and environmental risk on a multimodal transport network such that high-risk “hot spots” can be identified.  In addition, the methodology will be capable of identifying preferred routes between specific origins and destinations based on risk (safety, security, environmental) and efficiency criteria, and the importance (weights) the user places on each criterion.


Intermodal Transportation Curriculum for Secondary Education – A Pilot Study

  • This project is a part of state initiative to increase awareness of intermodal transportation education among k-12 stakeholders. This project offers a customized 2-day Technical Workshop for selected k-12 teachers at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). The Mississippi Department of Education and Government are asking the state’s Centers for Logistics Excellence to organize knowledge building workshop for high school teachers to participate, prepare and dissipate relevant and practical knowledge on logistics concepts, transportation and intermodal facility to k-12 students.

Projected Realignment of Gulfport Area Warehousing and Distribution Industry Cluster due to the Panama Canal Expansion

  • There are many organizations that will need to address different aspects of warehousing in the south Mississippi after expansion of the Panama Canal. This is necessary to improve different organization’s chances of continuing success in the warehousing industry in the wake of increased freight flow due to Panama Canal expansion. This project creates an inventory of all private and public warehouses in the south Mississippi. One of the first steps of the project is to determine the overall capacity of the warehouses as well as each warehouse’s current running capacity. This will let the stakeholders know the utilization of the warehouses and give them an idea of how much capacity is remaining. The next step of the project is to determine how much of a possible impact there could be with the expansion of the Panama Canal and the effects on theses warehouses and how things would change. The last step of the project will be to determine what steps will be necessary to accommodate the increased volume of TEUs and how the warehouses will cope with the new pressures.


Triple-Bottom Line Assessment of Future Intermodal Facility in Mississippi

  • The governor supports creating a large transportation hub in south Mississippi to handle increased container traffic from a $1 billion expansion of the Port of Gulfport. The proposed rail yard would help the massive State Port at Gulfport project that if built out to plans will have the annual potential to move 17 million containers through Mississippi. The current annual container volume is 200,000 containers. With this proposed massive increase in container volume, an inland port is crucial to relieve congestion at the port, efficiently stage containers for distribution, and reduce truck traffic in environmental containment areas near the coast.
  • This project, while having multifaceted research and reporting requirements, is principally aimed at assisting MDOT planners, state policy-makers, and other stakeholders to make informed choices about the role, development, and management of an intermodal facility in south Mississippi to foster economic development of the State fueled by the expanded Port of the Future at Gulfport.

Improving Retention & Graduate Placement through Partner Industry Network (PIN)

  • The Partnership Industry Network (PIN) program aims to foster cooperation between University of Southern Mississippi (USM) IET faculty and students and local businesses. IET and MSLTT students involved in the program will have the opportunity to interact directly with businesses and other organizations working in the field of industrial logistics by providing them with internship opportunities as well as facilities tours, industry visits, access to professional logistics data, professional mentorships and opportunities for research and real-world logistics problem solving. In addition, businesses gain the opportunity to directly influence the training and skill set of possible future hires and students gain the chance to have a relationship with potential employers.