Iowa's central location and abundant transportation options provide easy access to global markets.

Location/Transportation

Iowa is in the middle of it all. Sitting in the center of an eight-state market of nearly one million businesses and thirty-five million people, Iowa's Midwest location offers a distinct advantage to businesses with markets and suppliers in the middle part of the country, or a central location to the east and west coasts.

With three Interstate highways (i-35, I-80 and I-29) and a network of highways, nearly 4,000 miles of rail freight track, statewide airport coverage and 60 barge terminals that ship and receive, Iowa provides efficient and cost-effective transportation choices.

Highway

Interstate 80 spanning from New York to California, and Interstate 35 spanning from Canada to Mexico intersect in the middle of Iowa. Interstate 29 serves a direct route to Kansas City and the Dakotas, while Interstate 90 serves a direct route to the Pacific Northwest. Nearing completion is the "Avenue of the Saints" connecting St. Louis, Missouri with the Minneapolis/St. Paul metropolitan area and traversing the eastern portion of Iowa.

Iowa's Interstate Highways

Rail

Iowa's 130,000-mile freight transportation system includes an extensive railroad network. While rail accounts for only 3 percent of the freight network, it carries 37 percent of Iowa's freight tonnage. A great variety of commodities ranging from fresh food to textiles to optical products are moved by rail. The railroad network performs an important role in moving bulk commodities produced and consumed in the state to local processors, livestock feeders, river terminals and ports for foreign export. Extensive information related to Iowa's rail system.

 

River

Iowa is bordered by two “coasts,” the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. These two coasts are an economic and environmental resource of enormous proportion. The nearly 500 miles of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers along Iowa’s borders are open for commercial navigation and provide safe, efficient and effective transportation for over 9 million tons of Iowa products, primarily the state’s agriculture production. There are 65 barge terminals along Iowa, 57 on the Mississippi River and eight along the
Missouri River. These rivers, and the terminals provide a gateway for Iowa to the extensive 12,000-mile inland waterway system that has access to ports throughout the country, and ultimately the world. Over 60 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean exports move on the river system through the Gulf to foreign markets.

See large map of Iowa's Rivers

Iowa's Rivers

Air

Iowa has eight commercial service and 101 general aviation airports that are publicly owned. An additional eight privately-owned airports are open for public use.

Aviation is an integral part of Iowa’s economy and way of life. Air transportation provides needed connectivity and moves people and goods to their destinations quickly and efficiently. In 2011, more than 175 million pounds of cargo were transported through Iowa's airports. Iowa generates 2.5 million commercial airline passenger boardings each year. Nearly 60 percent of the boardings are associated with business travel, while the remainder are attributed to vacation and personal travel.

Iowa's Airports