The National Academies

TCRP H-09 [Completed]

Economic Impact Analysis of Transit Investments

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Christopher Wornum
Effective Date: 1/2/1996
Completion Date: 12/1/1997

The product of this study is a description of 12 methods traditionally used to analyze three categories of economic impacts:
  • Generative Impacts produce net economic growth and benefits in a region such as travel time savings, increased employment and income, improved environmental quality, and increased job accessibility. This is the only type of impact that results in a net economic gain to society at large.
  • Redistributive Impacts account for locational shifts in economic activity within a region such that land development, employment, and, therefore, income occur in a transit corridor or around a transit stop, rather than being dispersed throughout a region.
  • Transfer Impacts involve the conveyance or transfer of moneys from one entity to another such as the employment stimulated by the construction and operation of a transit system financed through public funds, joint development income, and property tax income from development redistributed to a transit corridor.

    The objectives of the research were to develop improved methods to comprehensively define and evaluate the economic impacts of transit investments and to recommend guidelines for using the methods. The report describes 12 evaluation methods, and for each method describes when it should be used, the impacts that it measures, advantages and disadvantages, data sources, an example, complementary methods, and a score card on performance. Although the methods are described separately, the report clearly states that they are typically used in combination. The report suggests criteria for evaluating and presenting the results of an economic impact analysis, offering practical suggestions to assist analysts in improving the clarity and usefulness of the findings.

    Two nontraditional methods are also presented, the economic impacts associated with reduced parking requirements (resulting from higher transit usage) and transit-induced accessibility and agglomeration of development.

    The findings of the study are reported in TCRP Report 35, "Economic Impact Analysis of Transit Investments: Guidebook for Practitioners." TCRP Report 35 is also available in portable document format (PDF). (A free copy of Adobe Acrobat reader is available at https://www.adobe.com.) PLEASE NOTE: because of the large size of this file it may take a long time--possibly more than 1 hour collectively--to download. We regret the inconvenience.
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