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The National Academies

NCHRP 20-24(23) [Final]

Assessing the Importance of Transportation for Major Industries and Sectors of the U.S. Economy
[ NCHRP 20-24 (Administration of Highway and Transportation Agencies) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $230,305
Research Agency: Various--see below
Principal Investigator: Various--see below
Effective Date: 5/14/2002
Completion Date: 11/8/2007

The importance of transportation to economic growth and productivity is undisputed. At the macro level, a well-known body of literature has documented and analyzed the size and composition of the transportation services sector and estimated its contribution to the national economy. At the micro level, techniques have been developed and refined for determining the economic impact of transportation programs and projects. Surprisingly little work, however, has been focused on understanding the importance of transportation to specific industries and sectors. To what degree and in what ways are sectors such as agriculture and travel and tourism dependent upon transportation? How has transportation congestion influenced productivity in particular industries? How can particular industries that rely indirectly on transportation assure that the nation's transportation system will offer a favorable business environment in the future?

Policymakers at the national, regional, state and local levels are becoming more deeply involved in decisions relating to investment in transportation intended to contribute to increases in economic productivity and growth. Decisions in this area are more likely to be sound if they are based on a well-grounded understanding of the contribution that transportation makes to the productivity of major industries and sectors and in turn to the overall strength and growth of the national economy.

The objective of this project was to develop information to inform government and business leaders and policy makers on issues related to the importance of transportation for particular sectors of the U. S. economy. The specific issues to be addressed were identified by the Special Committee on Intermodal Transportation and Economic Expansion of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials.

The project was conducted as a series of distinct activities addressing specific issues.  Each activity generally progressed through three stages. First,  papers were commissioned to review current thinking on the issues to be considered. Second, a meeting or forum of invited participants was held to discuss the commissioned papers and compare the experience of industry representatives and government officials concerned with these issues. Finally, a report of the forum was prepared, including a description of the proceedings and presenting background papers commissioned for the activity.  The final report  was delivered to AASHTO staff for their use in the organization's policy-development work.

Four specifc activities comprised the scope of this project:

Project 20-24(23)A
Assessing the Importance of Transportation for Major Industries and Sectors of the U.S. Economy -- Agriculture

Res. Agency: North Dakota State Univ.
Principal Invest: Gene Griffin
Effective Date: May 15, 2002
Completion Date: March 31, 2003
Funds: $80,305 (NCHRP funds only; there was additional sponsorship)
NCHRP Staff: Crawford Jencks

Status: The forum was held in Fargo, ND, on May 17 and 18, 2002. A report was published on the agency website http://www.ugpti.org/pubs/forum/

Project 20-24(23)B
Assessing the Importance of Transportation for Major Industries and Sectors of the U.S. Economy -- International Trade
Res. Agency: California State Universtiy -- Long Beach
Principal Invest: Marianne Venieris
Effective Date: September 15, 2002
Completion Date: March 31, 2003
Funds: $49,051 (NCHRP funds only; there was additional sponsorship)
NCHRP Staff: Crawford Jencks

Status: A conference was held in in Long Beach on October 25, 2002. A report was published on the agency website http://www.metrans.org/pdfs/AASHTOFinalReport.pdf

Project 20-24(23)C
Assessing the Importance of Transportation for Major Industries and Sectors of the U.S. Economy -- Congestion
Res. Agency: The UCLA Foundation
Principal Invest: Joanne Freilich
Effective Date: September 30,2003
Completion Date: December 31, 2003
Funds: $50,000 (NCHRP funds only; there was additional sponsorship)
NCHRP Staff: Crawford Jencks

Status: A conference was held in Washington, DC; on June 26 and 27, 2003. A report was published by the research agency and is available at http://www.uclaextension.edu/unex/departmentalPages/publicpolicy/report.pdf

Project 20-24(23)D
Assessing the Importance of Transportation for Major Industries and Sectors of the U.S. Economy -- Travel, Tourism, and Recreation
Res. Agency: Aubrey C. King & Associates
Principal Invest: Aubrey C. King
Effective Date: August 4, 2005
Completion Date:November 8, 2007
Funds: $50,000  (NCHRP funds only; there was additional sponsorship)
NCHRP Staff: Andrew Lemer

Status:  The contractor's final report is available by clicking here.

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