The Port of Long Beach – along with its neighbor the Port of Los Angeles – is the nation’s largest gateway for international container trade. EDR Group recently completed the Port of Long Beach Economic Impact Study, which quantifies the massive economic impacts of this critical economic engine and its role in the national economy. The study assesses the full range of Port activities, including not only cargo operations, but also cruise passenger services, retail, tourism, and real estate functions. The media has taken note, with stories appearing in publications like the Long Beach Business Journal and Maritime Executive. The study is available on the Port of Long Beach web site.
Infrastructure investment proposals can generate intense public discussion, and when it occurs, there is almost inevitably talk about how the project will (a) hurt the local economy, (b) save the local economy or (c) both. When the latter occurs, it is often because there are two factions – supporters and opponents. Of course, what is often missing is objective information to help guide and control these fears, hopes and allegations. That is where economic models and tools both come in.
We all know some variation of the saying, what you measure is what you get. At EDR Group, we work with States and regions to help choose the right things to measure – whether for performance management over time or to support project evaluation and prioritization – and to understand how those choices affect long-term policy implementation.
Changes in the administration, debates in Washington, and ongoing developments in technology, climate change and infrastructure costs make it harder than ever to undertake meaningful transportation plans, corridor studies and prioritize public investments.
It is the often untold story of project evaluations: We can never be fully certain about the results. Whether it is about the selection of the best alternative for a project or about setting priorities among different projects, the results depend to a considerable extent on assumptions we make. Assumptions are embedded in our analytical choices and results: what are the appropriate weights for each factor in a multicriteria analysis? How about the discount rate in a BCA? How accurate are the data sources we rely on? Do we truly know how much a project will cost or the level of future demand?
The Swiss Federal Offices for Spatial Development, Roads, Transportation, the Environment and Energy jointly released the new Transport Outlook 2040. Ernst Basler + Partner (www.ebp.ch), based in Zurich and an affiliate of EDR Group, worked on this project in collaboration with two other companies. The firm performed the passenger transportation forecast and for the modelling of impacts. The report offers intriguing findings that may be of interest for transportation and land use planners in the US and worldwide.
nput-output (I-O) analysis is an important technique used to estimate how changes in one sector of the economy affect employment, wages, and overall production in other sectors. An economist named Wassily Leontief developed the technique decades ago, receiving the 1973 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for doing so. Today, analysts customize national I-O “accounts” produced by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis in order to study regional (sub-national) effects. These accounts describe how industries, households, and government exchange goods and services, and regional models, in turn, use this information to simulate the magnitude, direction, and timing of economic impacts.
On June 17th, 2013 a WSJ article entitled “Rail Safety and the Value of a Life” highlighted the financial struggles that regional transit transportation authorities are facing to address safety concerns: both avoiding train crashes and improving deteriorating bridges. A federal requirement to install anti-crash gear (Positive Train Control – PTC) for all transit systems that carry over 564 million passengers by 2015 is currently being discussed by the Senate Commerce Committee. While there is debate over prioritizing schedules of investing in PTC versus the backlog of needed bridge renovations, it highlights the urgent need for overall additional investment in transit infrastructure
How would you rank the following tools –hammer, screwdriver and pliers? Now you might ask: Why would anyone ask such a silly question …for each is appropriate for a different use (even though I could bang a nail with a pliers or screwdriver). Well, it is not very different when someone catalogs all of the various types and brands of “economic” software tools and throws together tools for evaluating user benefits, regional economic impacts, land use impacts and economic development targeting into the same list. Yes, they may all have some common economic element (like putting a $ value on time or access), but each has a different intended use.