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Information Dissemination about the Economic Development Consequences of Transportation Investments

Transportation investments are becoming increasingly complex. Decision makers must take into account a wider range of factors. These factors include the effects of transportation systems as a stimulant of growth and as a cost of growth. They also include the effects on the environment and on the quality of life within the area served by the transportation system. In some cases, the ability to locate a transportation project in a particular place depends on the consent of residents within that area. For instance, expansion of Interstate highway spurs through urban areas or the siting of a new airport would be highly scrutinized and most likely resisted by local residents. To further complicate the process, decisions concerning transportation investments are increasingly being made at the local level. The devolution of responsibility of transportation projects involves many more partners in the process, which include not only agencies that have traditionally dealt with transportation projects but also entities that deal with economic development and  environmental issues.


The increasing complexity in the decision-making process calls for more research to develop ways of achieving greater dissemination of information and expanded educational efforts. At present, the concepts and the studies concerning the effects of transportation infrastructure on economic development are often not very accessible to this group.  Research is needed on ways to make the analysis and the concepts meaningful to practitioners and decision makers and to educate them about the value of incorporating these concepts and findings into their operations.


Before analysts will begin to do this, they must appreciate the relevance of these effects to transportation investment decisions. Giving the various stakeholders an opportunity to express their preferences for transportation investment is an integral part of the process of defining these issues. Once the issues are defined, then analysts must be able to assign costs and benefits to the various effects of transportation investment, so that informed decisions can be made. This step requires that analysts understand the relevant research that has been conducted and know how to apply it to specific projects.



Sponsoring Committee:AMS50, Economic Development and Land Use
Date Posted:08/11/2007
Date Modified:08/13/2007
Index Terms:Investments, Decision making, Economic growth, Urban growth, Quality of life, Urban areas, Stakeholders, Economic development,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Administration and Management

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