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Office of Transportation Policy Studies

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Investment and Economic Analysis Team

The Investment and Economic Analysis Team plans and conducts a program of studies that assess the condition and performance of our nation's highways, bridges, and transit facilities, and provides insight into the implications of various alternative funding scenarios. A blend of expertise in engineering and economics enables this team to break ne1 ground, researching and developing the tools used to conduct these studies assistance to the Federal Highway Administration.

Staff Contacts

Vision: Lead the Federal Highway Administration in the development of effective transportation legislation and policies.

Highways and the Economy

Some of the benefits of highway investment are relatively easy to comprehend such as the creation of construction jobs, improved passenger and freight mobility – due to more direct routes, better facilities, and less congestion – and improved access to existing facilities and undeveloped land. But understanding the full, measurable, and long term benefits of highway investment requires focused research. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is coordinating a Highways and the Economy Initiative to improve our understanding of highway-led employment and productivity growth. This research is valuable for policymakers, State and local officials, academics, and other transportation professionals.


Research on the effects of investments in transport infrastructure on economic output and the productivity of private capital growth through macroeconomic modeling. The main body of this work is a series of FHWA sponsored research papers by M. Ishaq Nadiri and Theofanis Mamuneas. An associated line of research provides a better measure of the country's capital stock, including highways, one of the key variables used in the modeling effort. More…

Research and Publications


Research on the specific mechanisms by which infrastructure improvement projects impact a local, regional, or national economy. Unlike benefit-cost analysis, microeconomic economic impact analysis examines how transportation improvements affect the wider economy including local or regional employment patterns, wage levels, business activity, tourism, housing, and even migration patterns. Benefit-cost analysis, by contrast, is limited to the direct benefits and costs of a transportation project on users and nonusers such as changes in travel time, crashes, vehicle operating costs, agency construction costs, and pollution costs. FHWA's work in this area focuses on the effects of congestion, highway spending, and infrastructure improvements. More…

Research and Publications


MicroEconomic Evaluation and Investment Analysis

Economic Development

Staff contacts

Karen White
(202) 366-9474

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