The Base Realignment and Closure process, referred to as BRAC, is the periodic process by which the Department of Defense (DoD) seeks to reorganize its domestic base structure, enabling it to respond efficiently and effectively to changing demands on the military and financial constraints. Before 2005, BRAC decisions focused primarily on reducing excess physical infrastructure. The 2005 BRAC process was different. That process emphasized the reshaping of DoD instead of merely cutting costs. The 2005 BRAC process resulted in growth at 18 bases totaling 355,000 people; of those, about 28% were located in major metropolitan areas, several of which already experienced difficult traffic congestion. The deadline for completing execution of the base reorganization was September 2011. (The 2005 BRAC Commission recommended another round of review in 2015 and every 8 years thereafter. The BRAC review process does not include bases and installations outside the U.S. or its territories.)
Concerns about the traffic impacts in major metropolitan areas associated with the 2005 BRAC decisions were rampant leading up to the 2011 deadline, resulting in numerous congressional investigations. This culminated in TRB-sponsored research and a report, Federal Funding of Transportation Improvements in BRAC Cases (Special Report 302), published 2011. Among other things, the research panel sought to understand the process by which BRAC decisions were made and the information on which those decisions were based. The panel then conducted four case studies of six bases before developing its findings and recommendations. Special Report 302 will serve as the starting point for this current proposed research.
This proposed research will provide a high level overview of BRAC-related traffic impacts and will revisit the six bases included in Special Report 302 to understand the actual resulting impacts associated with the 2005 BRAC decisions as implemented, and how they compared to what had been anticipated, and why there might be discrepancies. This research will characterize the magnitude of impacts and the benefits accrued through any planned mitigation strategies to complete a before-and-after traffic picture for the areas associated with these bases and will identify key factors that contributed to major differences. The resulting report and its findings will be useful to those engaged in the planning for, and response to, the traffic impacts associated with future BRAC decisions. Based on this overview, the research will provide a framework for possible lines of future research around transportation and military bases, such as growth and land use compatibility, practical mitigation of traffic impacts and related funding issues particularly off-base, or other areas that the research suggests.
This is a high priority topic for the TRB Joint Subcommittee on Transportation in Military Communities and will be featured on the subcommittee website and in its outreach.
The primary objective of this project was to ascertain whether the transportation impacts associated with the 2005 BRAC decision actually materialized; and identify factors that contributed to this difference either directly (base- or community-driven actions) or indirectly. The study also proposes lines of future research to expand understanding of the transportation-military base connection. Products of this research are useful to those making future BRAC decisions as well as those responding to them.
The Final Report is now available.