By engaging in technology driven applied research, RTI’s Maritime and Intermodal team develops sustainable commercial and environmental solutions to maritime,  urban water and intermodal issues through innovative and collaborative public-private partnerships.

Our maritime research and development activities are conducted as the National Maritime Enhancement Institute (NMEI) at Marshall University. As one of only nine such institutions in the country, the NMEI conducts research for waterborne transportation industries to improve the performance, efficiency, security and financial stability of water borne industries and transportation.

In 1999, RTI conducted a commodity flow study for the West Virginia Department of Transportation. Further RTI studies identified necessary infrastructure enhancements as well as a need for an intermodal facility along the Norfolk Southern rail corridor.  Prichard, West Virginia was identified as the optimal regional location for the intermodal facility and was named the Heartland Intermodal Gateway.


Our team of maritime and intermodal specialists focuses on marine domain awareness, livable and sustainable waters, environmental solutions and public policy. The team’s research findings help the industry compete nationally and internationally by:

  • Predicting trends
  • Evaluating technological advances
  • Assessing the impact of regulations
  • Increasing the compatibility of multimodal forms of transportation, including rail, highway and air
  • Coordinating collaboration with Federal, state, local and private entities

Project Highlights

M55-Marine Highway Study
This project is a freight corridor study focused on the development of containerized/trailerized barge services between Peoria, IL and the Gulf Coast.

Heartland Intermodal Gateway at Prichard, W.V. (HIG)
The project aims to develop a strategic plan for development and marketing for the Heartland Intermodal Gateway, as well as a memorandum of understanding between the West Virginia Public Port Authority, RTI, the Virginia Port Authority and Norfolk Southern.

Marine Highway (M-70) Container-on-Vessel Workshop
RTI and the West Virginia Department of Transportation, Public Port Authority in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration hosted a workshop focusing on assessing the potential for using container-on-vessel transportation on the M-70 (Ohio River), inclusive of West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.