The National Academies

NCHRP 08-36/Task 106 [Final]

Synthesis of Practices for Prioritizing Enhancement and Nonmotorized Transportation Projects
[ NCHRP 08-36 (Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on Planning) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $75,000
Research Agency: PB Americas
Principal Investigator: David Rose
Effective Date: 7/11/2011
Completion Date: 10/29/2012

Many methodologies exist for ranking or prioritizing mobility improvements, but the benefits of Transportation Enhancement and non-motorized transportation projects are very disparate and frequently hard to quantify. Many local areas and states do rank these types of projects. It would be useful to see what types of inputs are being used and the values assigned between very different sets of benefit types.   It would also be helpful to have solid measures for the either the benefit(s) or return on investment for non-motorized transportation projects (Can it be done and/or how can it be done?).
Measuring the anticipated impact of transportation investments or determining the relative priority among transportation investments is critical in assessing how well or if these investments in enhancement and non-motorized transportation projects are meeting their desired goals. In the current economic climate many have questioned the value of transportation enhancement and non-motorized transportation projects. There is a need to demonstrate that all public funds are being used in the most beneficial and efficient manner. Having access to an array of prioritization models for these types of projects will allow states and MPO’s to either borrow useful tools or easily modify them for local usage. This will allow better identification of benefits and justify project selection and funding decisions to the public and elected officials.
A synthesis of DOT and MPO practices for rating and ranking Transportation Enhancement projects has not been developed.   While benefit-costs analysis, asset management, and prioritization methods for transportation investments is well-understood, the focus has been on motorized transportation. Therefore, Transportation Enhancement and non-motorized transportation projects need to be evaluated and prioritized similar to other capital transportation investments.

The contractor's final report describs various prioritization models that are in use around the country with some analysis of the inputs needed and how useful they may be in weighting disparate benefits in other parts of the country.   The report  also includes information regarding specific measures used for non-motorized transportation projects, including measuring the return on investment for non-motorized transportation investments.

STATUS:  The contractor's final report is available HERE.

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