Enhanced Tools and Approaches for Assessing Economic and System Benefits of Transportation Investments

Status: Candidate    
Potential Funding Sources:    
Timeframe: Mid-Term
Research Period: 18 months
Funding Estimate: $250,000
Potential Sponsors:


This research will expand upon SHRP2 Report S2-C11-RW-1 to improve the tools and approaches for assessing economic benefits of transportation, including the measurement of economic valuation, logistics costs, productivity, and competitiveness.

Background

Transportation projects provide a wide range of economic and non-economic benefits. These include measures of traveler impact such as reduced travel time and costs, as well as wider but more indirect benefits that stem from gains in business productivity. Transportation agencies face many challenges in determining the full range of benefits for transportation investments, and communicating those benefits to stakeholders and decision makers to help support investment decisions.
Recently, SHRP 2 Project C11 developed a set of tools for predicting the wider economic benefits of transportation, followed by SHRP 2 Report S2-C11-RW-1. This research focused on three classes of transportation system impacts:
• Travel time reliability
• Intermodal connectivity
• Market access
While this research provides an important foundation for improved calculation of transportation benefits, further work is needed to expand it to provide transportation agencies with a complete and comprehensive set of tools and approaches for calculating economic benefits of transportation. Specifically, more work is needed to complete and test the tools developed through the SHRP 2 project, and to expand the tools and approaches to address other important components of economic benefit, such as supply chain costs, logistics costs, and benefits of improved productivity. This project will expand upon the SHRP 2 and other related research to develop an improved set of tools and approaches for calculating economic benefits of transportation.

Research Objectives

Expand upon the research detailed in SHRP2 Report S2-C11-RW-1 to improve the tools and approaches for assessing economic benefits of transportation. The research should address:
• Incorporation of measures of economic valuation, such as supply chain and logistics costs.
• Addition of benefits of productivity and competiveness.
• Guidance on how to communicate results
• Pilot testing of the tools and approaches developed through the research.

Proposed Research

The proposed research will include the following activities:
1. Review prior research in developing tools and approaches for assessing economic benefits of transportation with a focus on areas not addressed in SHRP2 Report S2-C11-RW-1
2. Identify specific measurement areas and measures to add to tools and approaches developed previously
3. Develop improved tools and approaches for assessing economic benefits of transportation in the targeted areas
4. Perform pilot testing of the tools/approaches
5. Prepare a final report incorporating detailing the research performed as part of the project.

Potential Benefits

The research has the potential to help agencies better calculate and communicate the economic benefits of investments in transportation, and in so doing, help anticipate additional system-wide benefits and support for ongoing and future investments.

Related Research

The research will build upon previous NCHRP research efforts, such as:
• SHRP2 Report S2-C02-RR: Performance Measurement Framework for Highway Capacity Decision Making
• SHRP2 Report S2-C11-RW-1: Development of Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation
• NCHRP Project 20-100 (ongoing), Return on Investment in Transportation Asset Management Systems and Practices


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