Economic Effects of Public Investment in Transportation and Directions for the Future (CNT and SSTI, 2012)

This report examines current economic analysis practices in state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) through examples in nine state transportation agencies and an extensive literature review. For additional understanding of the methods in practice, we also incorporated information obtained at selected metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs). The increased interest and demand for better economic results from transportation encouraged the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI) to look for ways to help states improve their ability to predict and measure the economic impacts of transportation policies and investments. In carrying out this research, the key questions addressed include:

  1. What is economic development and how does it relate to transportation?
  2. What is motivating state DOTs to measure economic performance?
  3. What emphasis is placed on economic benefit of transportation investments? How is economic potential factored in to systems planning, project development, and project selection among the state DOTs and other transportation agencies? Do any States require the maximization of economic benefits from transportation or other infrastructure investments?
  4. Is a distinction made between new economic activity and simply redistributing it from one area to another, one state to another?
  5. How are States accounting for the economic effects of transportation investments? What models and tools exist or can be created to help achieve a better understanding of the relationship between transportation and economics, and thereby improve the results of transportation investment?
  6. What are the barriers to adopting effective measures and analytical techniques and models among transportation agencies? What are the relative costs and time involved in collection and analysis.

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) produced the report for SSTI.

Accompanying the report itself is a web-based “scorecard,” which shows users the most appropriate economic data and tools to measure different types of economic impact.

All project materials are available below:



Scorecard Guide

Annotated Bibliography