Right-Sizing Transportation Investments: A Guidebook for Planning and Programming

NCHRP Research Report 917: Transportation agencies across the United States are challenged by aging infrastructure, unstable funding, changing performance expectations, and programs that need updating to meet evolving needs. At the same time, these agencies are charged with ensuring ongoing alignment between the life cycle cost, capacity, extent, condition, and function of a piece of infrastructure or a program and its intended current and future use.

Meeting this challenge, EDR Group (now EBP) led a team in developing a guidebook for transportation decision-makers over a two-year National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) effort.  The guidance, published as NCHRP Research Report 917, can help states and their partners identify, evaluate, implement, and communicate effective multi-modal transportation investment right-sizing scenarios. This project offers a framework to look beyond descriptions of unmet needs to a more strategic discussion of what is and is not the “right-size” for our transportation infrastructure system footprint—as well the tradeoffs inherent in such decision-making. It provides guidelines for identifying right-sizing opportunities where greater social and economic value can be realized by repurposing, reusing, or fundamentally resizing existing transportation system assets.