The use of economic analysis is growing in the transportation field — but not nearly as fast as it should. Some state and regional agencies have been reluctant to acquire economic impact analysis tools or fund economic impact studies, even while continuing to spend large sums on tools for modeling, forecasting, and planning other aspects of transportation systems. However, a growing number of agencies are showing that economic impact analysis can be used in decision making across every planning stage — with positive results.
During the past two decades, politicians across the political spectrum have increasingly stressed the importance of our nation’s transportation system for maintaining both commerce and global competitiveness. At the same time, research studies have better identified the links between transportation investment and economic impacts.