Easier-to-use tools for improved economic analysis.
T-PICS/Economic Analysis Tools (C03/C11)
Strengthening the economic vitality of a region (jobs and income) is one of the primary reasons for investing in highway capacity. Governments and taxpayers need to know whether a region will be better off economically as a result of proposed transportation investment. Current tools for estimating economic impacts of highway capacity projects are often complex and their outcomes can be difficult to explain to decision makers and the public. Planners need forecasting models that are more transparent and that provide a more complete understanding of the economic impacts of highway projects.
Transportation Project Impact Case Studies (T-PICS) is a web tool that planners can use to quickly see the range of economic development impacts that occur as a result of different types of projects in different settings. T-PICS includes 100 detailed case studies of already-built highway capacity projects and their economic development impacts. Each case study includes pre- and post-project economic and land development data and local interviews that together portray the actual, observed economic development impacts of those projects, as measured at least five years after project completion. T-PICS results can help refine public debate about highway projects by establishing boundaries of the likely positive and negative impacts that typically occur from such projects. Understanding what changes in productivity result from improvements in market accessibility, intermodal connectivity, scheduling, logistics, and international competitiveness helps communities and transportation agencies identify transportation options to meet their goals.
SHRP2 has also developed a suite of new spreadsheet-based analysis tools that will provide the range of reasonable economic impact expectations for a proposed highway project. The new tools also enable a wider economic analysis by integrating four components: travel time reliability, connectivity to intermodal facilities for freight and passengers, access to labor and product markets, and an accounting tool that integrates the other three components and creates benchmarks to the local area. By considering net effects, SHRP2 tools provide decision makers with better information for answering the question of whether a region will be economically better off because of a transportation investment, and if so, by how much. The outcome of this process describes the project’s ultimate economic impact in terms of direct effect, total local effect, and total national effect.