Workshop: Using Economic Impact Analysis for Transportation Decision-Making

A national workshop was held on June 16, 2010, highlighting the new ways state Departments of Transportation (DOTs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are incorporating economic impact analysis into their program planning, project prioritization and selection processes.

The 90 minute event featured five speakers representing DOTs and MPOs from across the country. These organizations differ significantly in their location and size, so each agency has developed a different way of applying economic impact analysis as part of its decision-making process. All of them have developed innovative, new approaches within the past year, using in-house staff to run the TREDIS economic impact analysis system. Each presenter described his/her experiences in conducting economic impact analysis and integrating it into their current planning process. This was followed by a recorded question and answer period.

Presenting agencies:

      Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Abstract CMAP Presentation More Info
      Kansas Department of Transportation Abstract KDOT Presentation More Info
      Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments Abstract PPACG Presentation  
      Virginia Department of Transportation Abstract VDOT Presentation More Info
      Wisconsin Department of Transportation Abstract WisDOT Presentation More Info


    Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning: Brett M. Baden, Senior Economist at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP)

    Abstract - "GOTO 2040" Comprehensive Regional Transportation Plan. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP), which is the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the seven northeastern counties of Illinois, has just released the draft of the region’s thirty year comprehensive regional plan, GO TO 2040. CMAP used TREDIS in the development of GO TO 2040 to forecast system-wide economic impacts associated with the operation of new, large-scale transportation projects and improvements. The presentation reviews the development of an alternate analytic technique and discusses how TREDIS was used in the development of GO TO 2040.
    See the CMAP PowerPoint Presentation


    Kansas Department of Transportation: Julie Lorenz, Director of Public Affairs for the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT),

    Abstract - "T-LINK" Expanded Highway Project Selection Process. A new $8.2 billion transportation construction program was recently passed by the Kansas Legislature - one of only a handful of funding programs to be approved in this tight economic climate. Julie Lorenz, Director of Public Affairs for the Kansas Department of Transportation, explains the crucial role that an expanded selection process played in the successfully securing new funds. That expanded process is built on a three-prong approach of considering engineering factors, economic impact (as measured by TREDIS) and regional impacts.
    See the KDOT PowerPoint Presentation


    Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments: Craig Casper, Director of the Pikes Peak MPO

    Abstract - "Moving Forward" Regional Transportation Plan. A recent change in the state law that funds transportation removed the funding for over 70% of the add-capacity type projects in the Pikes Peak region. This reduction created a desire on the part of the Colorado DOT for PPACG to prioritize the multitude of projects that had been included in the Long Range Plan and the short range funding Improvement Program. What they desired is a fiscally constrained list of the projects that should be focused on. There was an explicitly stated desire for this evaluation to include looking at the "best bang for the buck" benefit-cost analysis and, since the primary reason given by the decision-makers for choosing one project over another is economic development, an economic impact analysis was required. After investigating several tools, TREDIS is the economic impact tool that was chosen for this effort. This presentation discusses how PPACG uses the tools in conjunction with one another to provide more and better information for the project selection decision-making process.
    See the PPACG PowerPoint Presentation


    Virginia Department of Transportation: Mike Garrett, Senior Policy Analyst in VDOT’s Policy Division

    Abstract - Multimodal "Six Year Improvement Plan". Like many states over the past couple of years, Virginia has had to grapple with substantial challenges with its state budget, and we believe that analysis of economic impacts at the project and the program level can be a valuable tool in evaluating the most effective use of transportation funds. While Virginia has performed economic impact analyses for our larger transportation project proposals, we have begun to receive more inquiries about our capabilities using the VDOT TREDIS model for multimodal studies as we evaluate how to infuse these types of analyses into our programming and project selection process. The VDOT presentation discusses how we use economic impact analyses for studying the impact of the FY 2009-2014 six year spending plans for each of Virginia’s modal agencies - highways, aviation, ports, and rail and transit, including specific examples such as estimating the economic benefits resulting from a bridge rehabilitation project (eleven bridges along interstate I-95 in Henrico County and the city of Richmond).
    SeeVDOT PowerPoint Presentation



    Wisconsin Department of Transportation: Bob Russell, Transportation Economist

    Abstract: Evaluating and Ranking Highway Major Projects from an Economic Development Perspective. This presentation addresses the ways the Wisconsin Department of Transportation evaluates the macroeconomic effects of proposed major highway investment projects. Specifically covered is the manner in which major projects are proposed and selected, and the way they are prioritized with the economic development potential being a heavily weighted criterion, leveraging TREDIS to help with the evaluation process.
    See the WisDOT PowerPoint Presentation