The National Academies

NCHRP 02-19(2) [Completed]

Guidance on Using Existing Analytic Tools for Evaluating Transportation Investments

  Project Data
Funds: $99,990
Research Agency: Hagler Bailly Services, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Richard Mudge and Sergio Ostria
Effective Date: 6/22/1998
Completion Date: 3/12/2000

Background: The recently completed NCHRP Project 2-19 "Relationship between Transportation Investment and Economic Development" identified a number of specific problems faced by state Departments of Transportation and other practitioners where better and more timely information on economic development and productivity for transportation projects and programs would be valuable. While much of the discussion concerned a combination of basic research and practical extensions of existing techniques, uncertainty over the appropriate use of existing tools, including their value and usefulness, reliability, and data requirements was a recurring theme of the findings. In recent years several studies have examined the use of economic tools to analyze the impacts of alternative transportation investments. These studies, typically, have focused on surveying the range of analytical tools available to decision makers and have served to educate readers on the mechanics of the methodologies (i.e., benefit-cost analysis, return on investment criteria, etc.). While this "textbook" approach is valuable for familiarizing decision makers with state-of-the-art methodologies, it plays a limited role in serving as a "hands-on" practical guidance tool for decision-makers.

Transportation planners and decision makers continue to seek guidance on issues related to project selection and investment decisions.

Objective: The objective of this research is to develop a "user-friendly", practical guidance on the use of analytical techniques to address typical transportation decision-making problems. The underlying emphasis of this research is to adopt a bottom-up approach to link existing tools to analytical requirement s at the state DOT and MPO levels. Instead of forcing the decision-making process to conform to prescribed analytical tools, this guidance will seek to empower decision makers to select appropriate techniques to meet their unique needs given data constraints, staffing expertise, available time, and other practical limitations.

Status: The project has been completed.

Product Availability: The final report is available upon request.

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