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Integrating Transportation and Economics Models to Assess Impact of Infrastructure Investment

By Chandler Duncan, Steven Landau, Derek Cutler, Brian Alstadt, and Lisa Petraglia
Economic Development Research Group, published in the Transportation Research Record (TRR) 2297, pp. 145-153.

This paper explores how different asset management, traffic forecasting, performance and economic models can be integrated to show the national economic implications of transportationfunding and performance gaps under different scenarios. Asset management models have often been utilized to assess and forecast the condition and performance of current infra-structure. Travel demand models have been used to anticipate how traffic volumes are likely to develop over time depending on capacity improvements. User cost models have been used for cost-benefit analysis and the management of trade-offs, and economic impact models have been used to characterize transportation choices in terms of earnings, output and employment. This paper explores how a sequence of these models when applied to a consistent data set with consistent assumptions can address the overall relationship between physical transportation system conditions and performance, traffic patterns, transportation costs and economic impacts. The results point to a vertically integrated and economically defensible approach to needs-based planning with an understanding of the national economic significance of transportation investment choices.

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