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T R A N S I T C O O P E R A T I V E R E S E A R C H P R O G R A M TCRP SYNTHESIS 128 Subject AreAS Economics â¢ Public Transportation Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit A Synthesis of Transit Practice conSultAntS Glen Weisbrod Naomi Stein Chandler Duncan and Adam Blair Economic Development Research Group, Inc. Boston, Massachusetts Research Sponsored by the Federal Transit Administration in Cooperation with the Transit Development Corporation 2017 Marking 25 Years of Service through Research
TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM The nationâs growth and the need to meet mobility, environmen- tal, and energy objectives place demands on public transit systems. Current systems, some of which are old and in need of upgrading, must expand service area, increase service frequency, and improve efficiency to serve these demands. Research is necessary to solve operating problems, adapt appropriate new technologies from other industries, and introduce innovations into the transit industry. The Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) serves as one of the principal means by which the transit industry can develop innovative near-term solutions to meet demands placed on it. The need for TCRP was originally identified in TRB Special Report 213âResearch for Public Transit: New Directions, published in 1987 and based on a study sponsored by the Urban Mass Transportation Administrationânow the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). A report by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), Transportation 2000, also recognized the need for local, problem- solving research. TCRP, modeled after the successful National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP), undertakes research and other technical activities in response to the needs of transit service providers. The scope of TCRP includes various transit research fields including planning, service configuration, equipment, facilities, operations, human resources, maintenance, policy, and administrative practices. TCRP was established under FTA sponsorship in July 1992. Pro- posed by the U.S. Department of Transportation, TCRP was autho- rized as part of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). On May 13, 1992, a memorandum agreement outlining TCRP operating procedures was executed by the three cooperating organizations: FTA; the National Academies of Sci- ences, Engineering, and Medicine, acting through the Transportation Research Board (TRB); and the Transit Development Corporation, Inc. (TDC), a nonprofit educational and research organization estab- lished by APTA. TDC is responsible for forming the independent governing board, designated as the TCRP Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee. Research problem statements for TCRP are solicited periodically but may be submitted to TRB by anyone at any time. It is the respon- sibility of the TOPS Committee to formulate the research program by identifying the highest priority projects. As part of the evaluation, the TOPS Committee defines funding levels and expected products. Once selected, each project is assigned to an expert panel appointed by TRB. The panels prepare project statements (requests for propos- als), select contractors, and provide technical guidance and counsel throughout the life of the project. The process for developing research problem statements and selecting research agencies has been used by TRB in managing cooperative research programs since 1962. As in other TRB activities, TCRP project panels serve voluntarily without compensation. Because research cannot have the desired effect if products fail to reach the intended audience, special emphasis is placed on dissemi- nating TCRP results to the intended users of the research: transit agencies, service providers, and suppliers. TRB provides a series of research reports, syntheses of transit practice, and other support- ing material developed by TCRP research. APTA will arrange for workshops, training aids, field visits, and other activities to ensure that results are implemented by urban and rural transit industry practitioners. TCRP provides a forum where transit agencies can cooperatively address common operational problems. TCRP results support and complement other ongoing transit research and training programs. TCRP SYNTHESIS 128 Project J-7, Topic SH-17 ISSN 1073-4880 ISBN 978-0-309-38998-3 Library of Congress Control Number 2017932222 Â© 2017 National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION Authors herein are responsible for the authenticity of their materials and for obtaining written permissions from publishers or persons who own the copyright to any previously published or copyrighted material used herein. Cooperative Research Programs (CRP) grants permission to reproduce material in this publication for classroom and not-for-profit purposes. Permission is given with the understanding that none of the material will be used to imply TRB, AASHTO, FAA, FHWA, FMCSA, FRA, FTA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, PHMSA, or TDC endorsement of a particular product, method, or practice. It is expected that those reproducing the material in this document for educational and not-for-profit uses will give appropriate acknowledgment of the source of any reprinted or reproduced material. For other uses of the material, request permission from CRP. NOTICE The report was reviewed by the technical panel and accepted for publication according to procedures established and overseen by the Transportation Research Board and approved by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The opinions and conclusions expressed or implied in this report are those of the researchers who performed the research and are not necessari- ly those of the Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; or the program sponsors. The Transportation Research Board; the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; and the sponsors of the Transit Cooperative Research Program do not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturersâ names appear herein solely because they are considered essential to the object of the report. Published reports of the TRANSIT COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAM are available from Transportation Research Board Business Office 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 and can be ordered through the Internet by going to http://www.national-academies.org and then searching for TRB Printed in the United States of America
The National Academy of Sciences was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress, signed by President Lincoln, as a private, non- governmental institution to advise the nation on issues related to science and technology. Members are elected by their peers for outstanding contributions to research. Dr. Marcia McNutt is president. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to bring the practices of engineering to advising the nation. Members are elected by their peers for extraordinary contributions to engineering. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president. The National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine) was established in 1970 under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences to advise the nation on medical and health issues. Members are elected by their peers for distinguished contributions to medicine and health. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president. The three Academies work together as the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to provide independent, objective analysis and advice to the nation and conduct other activities to solve complex problems and inform public policy decisions. The Academies also encourage education and research, recognize outstanding contributions to knowledge, and increase public understanding in matters of science, engineering, and medicine. Learn more about the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine at www.national-academies.org. The Transportation Research Board is one of seven major programs of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The mission of the Transportation Research Board is to increase the benefits that transportation contributes to society by providing leadership in transportation innovation and progress through research and information exchange, conducted within a setting that is objective, interdisciplinary, and multimodal. The Boardâs varied committees, task forces, and panels annually engage about 7,000 engineers, scientists, and other transportation researchers and practitioners from the public and private sectors and academia, all of whom contribute their expertise in the public interest. The program is supported by state transportation departments, federal agencies including the component administrations of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and other organizations and individuals interested in the development of transportation. Learn more about the Transportation Research Board at www.TRB.org.
TOPIC PANEl SH-17 J. BARRY BARKER, Transit Authority of River City, Louisville, KY LOUIS D. CRIPPS, Regional Transportation District, Denver, CO TODD HEMINGSON, Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Austin, TX TONI HORST, AECOM Consulting Transportation Group, Inc., Arlington, VA JILL A. HOUGH, North Dakota State University, Fargo MICHAEL SUTHERLAND, Metrolinx, Toronto, ON, Canada DOMINICK TRIBONE, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Boston SHARADA R. VADALI, Texas A&M University System, College Station RABINDER K. BAINS, Federal Transit Authority (Liaison) DARNELL GRISBY, American Public Transportation Association (Liaison) SYNTHESIS STudIES STAFF STEPHEN R. GODWIN, Director for Studies and Special Programs JON M. WILLIAMS, Program Director, IDEA and Synthesis Studies MARIELA GARCIA-COLBERG, Senior Program Officer JO ALLEN GAUSE, Senior Program Officer THOMAS HELMS, Consultant GAIL R. STABA, Senior Program Officer TANYA M. ZWAHLEN, Consultant DON TIPPMAN, Senior Editor CHERYL KEITH, Senior Program Assistant DEMISHA WILLIAMS, Senior Program Assistant DEBBIE IRVIN, Program Associate COOPERATIVE RESEARCH PROGRAMS STAFF CHRISTOPHER J. HEDGES, Director, Cooperative Research Programs LORI L. SUNDSTROM, Deputy Director, Cooperative Research Programs GWEN CHISHOLM SMITH, Manager, Transit Cooperative Research Program EILEEN P. DELANEY, Director of Publications TCRP COMMITTEE FOR PROjECT j-7 CHAIR BRAD J. MILLER, Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority, St. Petersburg, FL MEMbERS DONNA DeMARTINO, San Joaquin Regional Transit District, Stockton, CA MICHAEL FORD, The Regional Transit Authority of Southeast Michigan, Detroit, MI BOBBY J. GRIFFIN, Griffin and Associates, Flower Mound, TX ROBERT H. IRWIN, Consultant, Sooke, BC, Canada JEANNE KRIEG, Eastern Contra Costa Transit Authority, Antioch, CA PAUL J. LARROUSSE, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick DAVID A. LEE, Connecticut Transit, Hartford ELIZABETH PRESUTTI, Des Moines Area Regional Transit AuthorityâDART ROBERT H. PRINCE, JR., AECOM Consulting Transportation Group, Inc., Boston, MA JARRETT W. STOLTZFUS, Foothill Transit, West Covina, CA FTA lIAISON FAITH HALL, Federal Transit Administration APTA lIAISON PAMELA BOSWELL, American Public Transportation Association TRb lIAISON STEPHEN J. ANDRLE, Transportation Research Board
FOREWORD Because of shifting demands and constrained budgets, transit agencies have an increas- ing need to consistently and defensibly document the economic impacts and benefits of the services they provide. Only by doing so can they successfully advance the business case for transit and for sustained investment in transit infrastructure. This synthesis provides state-of-the-practice information for transit agencies to help them in incorporating economic benefits and impacts into their decision-making pro- cesses, and to help them advocate for more sustainable funding for transit. It describes the methods used for assessing transit economic impacts and benefits, the types of effects that are covered by these methods, and the ways that agencies are using the information obtained for planning, prioritizing, funding, and stakeholder support. A literature review was conducted, a survey was distributed to selected transit agencies and other stakeholders, and five detailed case examples were undertaken that reveal how economic studies have been developed and applied to support broader planning and decision making at the transit systems. The survey was completed by 28 of 32 eligible transit systems, an 88% response rate. This synthesis report is designed to help transportation officials wherever they work (at state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, or transit agencies) identify ways that they can most effectively incorporate economic impacts and benefits into public discussion and decision making, and appropriately convey the business case for transit. Glen Weisbrod, Naomi Stein, Chandler Duncan, and Adam Blair, Economic Develop- ment Research Group, Inc., Boston, Massachusetts, collected and synthesized the informa- tion and wrote the report, under the guidance of a panel of experts in the subject area. The members of the topic panel are acknowledged on the preceding page. This synthesis is an immediately useful document that records the practices that were acceptable within the limitations of the knowledge available at the time of its preparation. As progress in research and practice continues, new knowledge will be added to that now at hand. Transit administrators, engineers, and researchers often face problems for which informa- tion already exists, either in documented form or as undocumented experience and practice. This information may be fragmented, scattered, and unevaluated. As a consequence, full knowledge of what has been learned about a problem may not be brought to bear on its solution. Costly research findings may go unused, valuable experience may be overlooked, and due consideration may not be given to recommended practices for solving or alleviat- ing the problem. There is information on nearly every subject of concern to the transit industry. Much of it derives from research or from the work of practitioners faced with problems in their day-to-day work. To provide a systematic means for assembling and evaluating such useful information and to make it available to the entire transit community, the Transit Coopera- tive Research Program Oversight and Project Selection (TOPS) Committee authorized the Transportation Research Board to undertake a continuing study. This study, TCRP Project J-7, âSynthesis of Information Related to Transit Problems,â searches out and syn- thesizes useful knowledge from all available sources and prepares concise, documented reports on specific topics. Reports from this endeavor constitute a TCRP report series, Synthesis of Transit Practice. This synthesis series reports on current knowledge and practice, in a compact format, without the detailed directions usually found in handbooks or design manuals. Each report in the series provides a compendium of the best knowledge available on those measures found to be the most successful in resolving specific problems. PREFACE By Mariela Garcia-Colberg Senior Program Officer Transportation Research Board
CONTENTS 1 SUMMARY 3 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION: OVERVIEW AND KEY ISSUES Motivation: Problems and Challenges, 3 Organization of the Report, 4 Dimensions and Uses of Economic Analysis, 5 Unique Aspects of Economic Analysis for Transit, 6 Challenges for Transit Economic Analysis, 7 10 CHAPTER TWO OVERALL FRAMEWORK: A REVIEW OF NATIONAL RESEARCH Overview, 10 Impact and Benefit Terms, 10 Reviews of Guidance: National Research and Analysis Methods, 12 Alternative Interpretations of Impact and Benefit Terms, 15 State of MeasurementâKey Observations, 17 18 CHAPTER THREE LOCAL APPLICATION OF ANALYSIS METHODS Overview, 18 Existing Transit System: Current Contribution to the Economy, 18 Future Transit Scenarios: Predicted Economic Impact of Alternatives, 21 Previously Completed Investments (ex-post analysis), 26 Analysis of Societal Benefits (including BCA studies), 29 Local StudiesâKey Observations, 34 38 CHAPTER FOUR SURVEY OF AGENCY PRACTICE Overview, 38 Data Collection Process, 38 Survey Results: Experience with Economic Analysis, 38 Survey of PracticeâKey Observations, 44 45 CHAPTER FIVE CASE ExAMPLES Overview, 45 Individual Case Studies, 45 Case StudiesâKey Observations, 58 60 CHAPTER SIx CONCLUSIONS Motivation for Transit Economic Impact and Benefit Analyses, 60 Methods for Measuring Transit Impacts and Benefits, 60 Evolving Issues in Measuring Transit Impacts and Benefits, 60 Need to Expand Use of Economic Impact and Benefit Analysis, 62 Directions for Future Action, 62
63 GLOSSARY OF TERMS AND ABBREVIATIONS 65 REFERENCES 69 APPENDIx A REVIEWS OF NATIONAL REPORTS AND GUIDES 77 APPENDIx B SURVEY QUESTIONNAIRE 84 APPENDIx C SURVEY PARTICIPANTS