The National Academies

NCHRP 02-22 [Completed]

Needs in Communicating the Economic Impacts of Transportation Investment

  Project Data
Funds: $200,000
Research Agency: Hagler Bailly Services, Inc.*
Principal Investigator: Sergio J. Ostria
Effective Date: 2/3/1997
Completion Date: 3/15/1999

NCHRP Report 436 Guidance for Communicating the Economic Impacts of Transportation Investments contains the results of research into communicating linkages between transportation investments and economic performance. It is intended to provide transportation organizations, planning practitioners, and transportation decision-makers with practical guidance for developing, considering, and explaining economic rationales for transportation investment decisions. Presented as a communication guide, it brings together market-research results and lessons learned from different regions of the country on the levels of awareness - by stakeholders, decision makers, and the public - of transportation's contributions to economic performance. The guide provides approaches that will most effectively fulfill the needs of stakeholders, decision-makers, and the public for increased understanding of the economic implications of transportation decisions. It should be especially valuable to state Departments of Transportation (DOTs), Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and local transportation planners as well as other practitioners concerned with planning, programming, and implementing multimodal transportation projects. The report will also be useful as an educational resource into the concepts, approaches, and methods currently employed for most effectively considering economic impacts in order to sustain effective transportation planning consensus and timely project prioritization.

Recent federal transportation policy, as embodied in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) and the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21), placed a high priority on consideration of economic performance in transportation planning and decision making. This emphasis represents a shift away from predetermined modal decisions toward broader consideration of tailored multimodal solutions within the context of transportation performance expectations and investment commitments. As such, this emphasis is intended to result in transportation plans, programs, and decisions that are driven by the needs of the specific area as opposed to the modal restrictions of the funding source or program. Given this emphasis, transportation planning and development must be based on decisions that reflect the unique needs and characteristics of the area, including the expectations of economic contribution associated with transportation strategies.

NCHRP Report 436 is based upon extensive market research to develop guidance to assist state DOTs and other transportation agencies in more effectively and proactively communicating - to decision makers and to the public - the important contributions transportation improvements can make to the economy and to economic performance.

This report is composed of two parts. Part I is the Communications Guide, which is designed to provide transportation planners and policy makers guidance on strategies for more effectively communicating the economic implications of transportation decisions. The material presented in this Part is drawn directly from the market research and analysis conducted during the project. Part II contains the results from the market research carried out under this study. This section presents the cumulative findings from the study and traces the market research plan that guided the research. Although there is some overlap with the Communications Guide, the focus and tone of the market research results report are distinct from those of Part I.

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