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Policy and Governmental Affairs
Transportation Policy Studies

FHWA > Programs > Policy & Governmental Affairs > Office of Transportation Policy Studies > Highways and the Economy Initiatives

Investment and Economic Analysis

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 new ground, researching and developing the tools used to conduct these studies to assist the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)leadership.

Staff Contacts

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

Biennial Condition and Performance Reports

The biennial Condition and Performance (C&P) Report is intended to provide decision makers with an objective appraisal of the physical conditions, operational performances, and financing mechanisms of highways, bridges, and transit systems based both on the current state of these systems and on the projected future state of these systems under a set of alternative future investment scenarios. This report offers a comprehensive, data-driven background to support the development and evaluation of legislative, program, and budget options at all levels of government. It also serves as a primary source of information for national and international news media, transportation associations, and industry.

The 2013 report is the tenth in a series of combined documents prepared by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to satisfy requirements for reports to Congress on the condition, performance, and future capital investment needs of the Nation's highway and transit systems. The C&P report consolidates conditions, performance, and financial data provided by States, local governments, and mass transit operators to provide a national-level summary. Some of the underlying data are available through the DOT's regular statistical publications. The future investment scenario analyses are developed specifically for this report and provide national-level projections only.

2013 Status of the Nation's Highways, Bridges, and Transit: Conditions and Performance Report

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 FHWA seeks 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.

MACROECONOMIC PERSPECTIVES

There has been some valuable research undertaken 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

MICROECONOMIC AND INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

Researchers have addressed 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

OTHER FHWA ECONOMICS RESEARCH AND RESOURCES

MicroEconomic Evaluation and Investment Analysis

Economic Development

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