The National Academies

NCHRP 02-19 [Completed]

Research on the Relationship Between Economic Development and Transportation Investment

  Project Data
Funds: $100,000
Research Agency: Apogee Research, Inc.
Principal Investigator: Richard R. Mudge
Effective Date: 4/17/1995
Completion Date: 4/15/1997

Transportation-infrastructure investment has played a key role in the development of the nation's economy. The manner in which transportation investment affects economic productivity has been the subject of many studies, and although the relationship between these investments and productivity is not well understood, the output of these studies provides decision makers with the information needed to make choices in determining which transportation investments should be supported.

Research efforts by NCHRP, academic institutions, and federal agencies have pursued various approaches to understand the relationship between transportation investment and economic productivity. However, this relationship is difficult to track and there is concern about the ability of this research to meet the needs of transportation decision makers.

Therefore, research is needed to accomplish the following: identify stakeholders; analyze, describe, and critique pertinent research; identify gaps, contradictions, and inconsistencies in information; and develop a proposed multiyear, multifaceted, prioritized list of research project statements. The ultimate purpose is to comprehensively explore ways in which transportation investments affect economic productivity and identify the most cost-effective plan to pursue research that will allow transportation professionals to better understand the linkages and interactions between transportation investment and economic productivity.

The objective of this research is to develop an appropriate cost-effective, multiyear, multifaceted research plan on the relationship between transportation investment and economic productivity.

Accomplishment of the project objective will require the following tasks: (1) Identify stakeholders who have an interest in, or need for, information on the relationship between transportation investment and economic productivity. Categorize the stakeholders and define their need for such information. If appropriate, use stakeholders as the basis for defining research needs. Possible stakeholders could include, but are not limited to the following: (a) federal agencies (e.g., Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Defense, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, and Army Corps of Engineers); (b) state and local transportation agencies; (c) metropolitan planning organizations; (d) development agencies (e.g., port authorities, redevelopment agencies); (e) Congress; (f) state legislatures; (g) Native American governments; (h) private sector (shippers and providers); and (i) public interest and environmental groups (e.g., Surface Transportation Policy Project, American Trucking Association, Conservation Law Foundation, and Environmental Defense Fund). (2) Analyze, describe, and critique pertinent national and international research, including research in the NCHRP Project 2-17 series, on the basis of applicability, conclusiveness of findings, and usefulness for the analytical and decision-making needs of stakeholders. Include completed research and all research currently underway. (3) Deliver the results of Tasks 1 and 2 and a specific plan for implementing Task 4 to NCHRP for review and approval. (4) Organize and conduct focus groups or workshops, or use other methods for obtaining participation and input from representative stakeholders and obtain their review and recommendations on needed research. (5) Based on input from Task 4, identify gaps, contradictions, and inconsistencies in information relating to the effects of transportation investment on economic productivity, and specify further information needed by stakeholders. (6) Produce a draft synthesis and critique of research in the subject area based on Tasks 4 and 5 and prepare an outline for Task 7 that will be presented to the NCHRP for review and approval. (7) Develop and propose a prioritized list of research project statements, which considers unfunded NCHRP 2-17 projects and constitutes a cost-effective research plan organized by research areas. The plan will include estimated time and costs, linkages, and sequencing for the proposed projects. Research areas covering theoretical approaches and applied techniques may include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Macro-level national investment analysis;
2. Regional/state investment analysis;
3. Economic productivity impacts of project-level investments;
4. Intermodal investment comparisons;
5. The economic productivity consequences of (a) tradeoffs between urban livability, environmental impacts, and transportation-user benefits; (b) community settlement patterns; (c) telecommuting; (d) technological improvements; and (e) international trade and NAFTA; and
6. Impact of governmental policy on the private sector.

(8) Prepare a final report that contains a proposed research plan. This plan will include the methodology and logic used for selection of projects and development of detailed scope statements.

Status: Completed

Report Availability: The report has been published as NCHRP Report 418, "Research on the Relationship Between Economic Development and Transportation Investment."

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