Report Reveals Oregon Highway Limitations

Boston, MA, April 4, 2007 -- A new statewide Oregon transportation study, just released, uses a combination of innovative modeling and case studies to provide an in-depth analysis of the economic development consequences of long-range transportation investments.

The new report by Economic Development Research Group (EDR Group) used the Transportation Economic Development Impact System (TREDIS) to develop a picture of lost economic growth and lost jobs in the state of Oregon by focusing on the performance of the state's transportation system. TREDIS is an online impact accounting framework that estimates how a variety of transportation trends - access to workers, delivery trip length, vehicle weights and sizes, use of intermodal connections, seasonal use of highways, and most importantly, traffic congestion - can affect economic development for years to come.

In addition, EDR Group prepared in-depth case studies with medium and large companies across the state. This testimony strengthened the TREDIS analysis by revealing that, although traffic delays are a major hindrance, many other factors play a role in the ongoing success or failure of commerce. These factors together are forecast to cost Oregon $1.7 billions dollars and 16,000 jobs annually by 2025.

For example, Roseburg Forest Products recently made a decision to purchase additional particle mills in the eastern United States, rather than expanding in Oregon - reportedly due to limited freight access to eastern markets. Georgia Pacific reported much higher fuel, maintenance and intermodal costs because many big, modern trucks are banned from smaller state roads. Anderson Hay reports frequent and increasingly expensive delays in outgoing freight shipments due to delays in incoming shipments.

The issues facing businesses throughout the state can be classified into four key categories:

  • Congestion caused by traffic levels exceeding road capacity, causing both slowdown and traffic incident delays;

  • Deficiencies in inter-modal connections between the road system and rail, air and marine terminals;

  • Limitations of the existing road infrastructure that cause network access limitations; and

  • Shifting location and shipping requirements of businesses that cannot be met due to existing transportation network limitations.

The Oregon study was produced by Economic Development Research Group, a Boston-based consulting firm, for the Oregon Business Council and a consortium of other organizations, working in cooperation with Oregon Dept. of Transportation. The study was conducted as part of a state-wide economic development initiative called the Oregon Business Plan. Since 2002, the Oregon Business Plan has provided the strategic framework for Oregon's business and elected leaders to build a stronger, more competitive state economy.

Economic Development Research Group, Inc. (EDR Group) is a consulting firm focusing specifically on applying state-of-the-art tools and techniques for evaluating economic development performance, impacts and opportunities associated with infrastructure programs and projects.

Read the report: The Cost of Highway Limitations and Traffic Delay to Oregon's Economy