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The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 22 [Completed]

Demonstrating the Positive Impacts of Transportation Investments on Economic, Social, Environmental, Community, and Quality of Life Issues
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: 125000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics
Principal Investigator: Jeffrey N. Buxbaum
Effective Date: 4/18/2001
Completion Date: 7/31/2002
Comments: Completed---Final report sent to AASHTO

The intent of this research is to develop a concise description of the positive impacts of transportation investments on economic, social, environmental and quality of life issues to address the problem described above. The effort would review current literature and research that address these issues, extract the vital information, describe good examples and present the findings in an understandable way that would be meaningful in the public debates on transportation investment. The following are some of the elements that should be included:
  • Description of how the modes contribute to the nation's productivity;
  • Congestion's negative impact on the economy;
  • Transportation's contribution to environmental protection;
  • Transportation's contribution to past and future mobile source air emissions;
  • Description of what constitutes quality of life and how transportation can enhance quality of life;
  • The role of transportation in planned growth and its contribution toward creating more livable communities;
  • Integration of transportation design standards and community goals;
  • Choices between modes such as pedestrian, bicycle, auto and transit, etc.; and
  • How overall social concerns are addressed in transportation plans and programs.


The contract has been amended to add analysis of the benefits to be expected in reductions of fuel use and pollution through smoother traffic flows and reduced congestion.

The final report may be found here.

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