The University of Toledo University Transportation Center

UTUTC-IU-1: Developing and Testing a Framework for Alternative Ownership, Tenure and Governance Strategies for the Proposed Detroit-Windsor River Crossing

Focus Area: Infrastructure Utilization

Principal Investigator:
Snehamay Khasnabis, Ph.D., P.E.
Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering
College of Engineering
Wayne State University


Project Dates: 06/15/2007 – 09/30/2008;extended to 11/15/2008

Project Award: FY2007

UT-UTC Designation: UTUTC-IU-1

The United States and Canada share the largest trading relationship in the world, and currently account for approximately $200 billion of annual surface trade between Southwestern Ontario and Southeastern Michigan. This figure is expected to reach $300 billion by the year 2030. The Central Business Districts of the cities of Detroit and Windsor are currently connected by a bridge and a tunnel, both built during the late 1920s, that constitute the vital trade corridor between the two countries. The Ambassador Bridge (a four lane facility) is privately owned and operated, while the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel is a two-lane facility jointly owned by the two cities and operated by a private corporation.

During the last few years, a number of studies have been undertaken by the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to investigate the need, location and type of a proposed third river crossing connecting the cities of Detroit and Windsor. These studies appear to indicate a strong need for such a river crossing, even though its exact location, access and type (tunnel, bridge, etc) are yet to be determined. Nor has any decision been made on the Ownership, Tenure and Governance (OTG) of the proposed crossing.

The purpose of this study is to develop an analytic framework that can be used to test alternative OTG scenarios for the proposed river crossing, including public, private and various joint ownership scenarios. The proposed framework will, among other things, incorporate the concept of “investment decision under uncertainty.” The estimates of the project costs and benefits (particularly those beyond the immediate future) are likely to be characterized by significant variances. The risks and uncertainties associated with these estimates will be incorporated in the proposed framework. The framework developed will be tested with data that may be available from different published reports and from the Michigan Department of Transportation.


UT-UTC Grant Amount        $ 41,010
Match Amount                   $ 41,090 
Total Project Budget          $ 82,100
Final Report:

PDF Symbol Final Report

Last Updated: 6/9/16