Alert: The following services will be unavailable on Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 12 a.m. (midnight) to 6 a.m. CST due to system maintenance.

Economic importance of the Interstate

Case study 1 - Economic Significance of the Southeast Wisconsin Freeway System

A 2001 study examined the economic significance of the Southeast Freeway System, which includes Interstate highways: I-39, I-43, I-94, I-794, and I-894, to the entire state.

Southeast Wisconsin Interstate System

The Southeast Freeway System, which includes Interstate highways: I-39, I-43, I-94, I-794, and I-894.

Wisconsin's Southeast Freeway System is economically significant to the rest of the state for the following reasons:

  • The majority (1,571 or 46%) of the state's exporters are located in southeast Wisconsin. (2001)
  • There are more businesses and manufacturers in Southeast Wisconsin than in any other region in the state. 91,764 businesses are located in the Southeast region, or 36% of the state total.
  • Southeast Wisconsin has a population of 1,521,619 (2004 estimate), or 37% of the state's population and the state's largest transportation and intermodal facilities.
  • 57% of Southeast Wisconsin's largest manufacturers, with 100 or more employees are located within two miles of the Interstate System (2001).
  • $39.8 billion in wages, or 42% of the total wages paid in the state (2003) are paid in Southeast Wisconsin counties.
  • On average, in 2003, per capita personal income in Southeast Wisconsin counties was $34,207, significantly higher than in the state as a whole ($30,685).
  • 2001 economic forecasts indicate that the Southeast Wisconsin region will grow faster than other regions in the state.
  • A large number of Wisconsin's prominent tourist attractions are located in the Southeast region of the state.
  • 2001 data indicates that manufacturers in Southeast Wisconsin have manufacturing facilities in other regions of the state and depend on the freeways to bring in parts and goods for distribution. A 2001 survey of manufacturers with 50 or more employees showed at least 138 manufacturing plants outside the Southeast region with ties to Southeast Wisconsin.
  • 23,157 manufacturing jobs outside the Southeast region were linked to manufacturing plants in Southeast Wisconsin.
  • 14,540 Illinois residents work in Wisconsin, comprising 0.6% of all people working in Wisconsin. (Census 2000)

Some 41,603 Wisconsin residents work in Illinois, comprising 1.6% of people working in Illinois. (Census 2000) Wisconsin Interstate highways provide the route for these commutes in and out of Wisconsin.

Next Case 2

Next Case 3

Top Back to economic importance

Questions about the content of this page:
Office of Public Affairs,
Last modified: January 6, 2010

All external hyperlinks are provided for your information and for the benefit of the general public. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation does not testify to, sponsor or endorse the accuracy of the information provided on externally linked pages. Some pages contain links to other documents and media types (PDF, Word, Flash, Video, etc.) and require free plugins to work. Visit our software information page for assistance.