Development of Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation

July 2013

While SHRP 2 Project C03 provided an “early stage” screening tool for viewing the range of wider economic impacts associated with transportation projects, it did not enable analysts to assess the roles of specific local factors that can have a dramatic impact on the actual economic impacts of individual projects. In subsequent “middle stage” analyses, it is necessary to consider those factors. Besides the traditional factors that are commonly measured (travel time, cost and safety), there is a growing evidence that wider economic impacts are often driven by changes in reliability, connectivity and accessibility. This study addresses that need by providing four sets of spreadsheet tools for transportation project impact assessment. These four tools enable measurement of project impacts on: (1) travel time reliability, (2) market access and (3) intermodal connectivity, and they are accompanied by (4) an accounting system for incorporating the above three metrics into economic benefit and economic impact analyses. The report discusses the context in which these tools are to be used, and presents technical discussion and instructions for each one.