The National Academies

NCHRP 02-24 [Final]

Economic Productivity and Transportation Investment Priorities

  Project Data
Funds: $349,987
Research Agency: Economic Development Research Group, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Glen Weisbrod
Effective Date: 6/7/2012
Completion Date: 6/6/2014

Productivity gains are an important consequence of transportation system improvements. Fast and reliable delivery of goods and services, for example, can reduce the need for delivery vehicles, warehouse space, and investment in equipment and facilities; and increase the rate at which workers can complete their tasks. The cumulative effect of multifactor productivity gains can influence the competitiveness of firms in a region and the attractiveness of the region for companies and workers considering relocation from other areas. Previous research sponsored by NCHRP and others have underaken to assist DOTs and other decision makers to ensure that transportation policies and investments promote enhanced growth as well as regional gains, typically relying on the BCA framework.  Critics have argued that this framework generally neglects, miscalculates, or misinterprets the increased productivity attributable to transportation system improvements, and call for other ways for DOTs and other agencies to forecast and value productivity gains attributable to transportation system improvements in a region.  The objective of this research was to develop a methodology and guide for incorporating productivity gains in analysis and prioritization of transportation investments. The intent  was that the methodology and guide should encourage DOTs and other agencies to apply consistent analysis methods and produce results that facilitate public decision making about transportation improvement priorities within a state or other large region.  The research team prepared a review of literature that may be viewed by clicking here.  Guidance on methodology for analysis of productivity effects of transportation system improvements is presented in the final report, published as NCHRP Report 786

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