The National Academies

NCHRP 02-17(5) [Final]

Impact of Urban Congestion on Business

  Project Data
Funds: $170,000
Research Agency: Cambridge Systematics, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Lance R. Grenzeback
Effective Date: 9/15/1991
Completion Date: 3/15/1993

Congestion in metropolitan areas affects business transportation costs and productivity and, hence, the "bottomline" cost of doing business. However, the effects of congestion on businesses have not been well described, much less quantified.

The objective of this research was to assess and quantify the impact of congestion on the cost of doing business. The impacts of interest include those generally associated with delivery of goods and services, access to customers, transport costs, business output, access to labor supply, extensions and restructuring of delivery systems, and lost markets.

Research is complete and the project panel has reviewed the final report. A major finding of the research is that the cost of urban congestion is not directly perceived by business as being significant. Most firms do not internalize the costs of congestion and therefore do not measure and account for these costs in ways that directly influence business decisions and the "bottom line" of the firm. However, the findings do suggest that congestion is causing considerable impacts when considering the hard-to-quantify measures of quality of life, productivity of capital, land use, and environmental quality.

The research is complete. Conclusions and recommendations have been published in Research Results Digest 202, "Congestion Impacts on Business and Strategies to Mitigate Them."

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