The Role of Well-Designed Transportation Projects Enhancing Communities: Promoting Economic Development

Principal Investigator(s):

John Adams, Former Professor and Chair, Geography


Project summary:

Every transportation-related development project takes place within a specific geographical setting; the nature of the setting affects how the project is planned and carried out. Three factors exert influence on the process and outcomes of transportation projects and the degree to which a project yields positive economic benefits for communities: 1) local population and economic growth rates, 2) whether the project uses new land or is a redevelopment, and 3) land prices and local development densities. Several factors make a difference in the ease with which projects can go forward. Case studies were selected to include: 1) a variety of growth rates, 2) new development vs. redevelopment, and 3) a variety of density and land-price regimes. This study presented frameworks and methods for assessing economic development impacts of well-designed transportation projects. A literature review and on-site inspections of U.S. case studies provided lessons learned, best practices, and metrics for assessing outcomes. Phase 1 of the project included five tasks: 1) defining what is meant by economic development, distinguishing it from land development; 2) defining costs and benefits; 3) evaluating net benefits; 4) defining geographical frameworks for analysis; and 5) defining temporal frameworks for analysis. Each of the five tasks yielded measures to be used in the assessment of net project benefits (and, in turn, suggested best practices).

Project details:

  • Project number: 2007042
  • Start date: 07/2006
  • Project status: Completed
  • Research area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Economics, Planning

Reports or Products: