National Academies Press: OpenBook

Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit (2017)

Chapter: Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides

« Previous: References
Page 69
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 69
Page 70
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 70
Page 71
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 71
Page 72
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 72
Page 73
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 73
Page 74
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 74
Page 75
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 75
Page 76
Suggested Citation:"Appendix A - Reviews of National Reports and Guides." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2017. Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/24768.
×
Page 76

Below is the uncorrected machine-read text of this chapter, intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text of each book. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

69 Appendix A Reviews of national Reports and Guides American public Transportation Association, Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment (2014 Update) Weisbrod, G., D. Cutler, and C. Duncan, Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment, Update, American Public Transportation Association, Washington, D.C., 2014 [Online]. Available: https://www.apta. com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/Economic-Impact-Public-Transportation-Investment- APTA.pdf. Scope: Prepared for APTA, this study applies some of the methods outlined in NCHRP Report 290. The report is national in scope and intentionally focuses on measures of activity within the economy (wages, jobs, and business income) rather than on developing benefit–cost ratios or on other societal benefits that may be of real value to society, but do not translate into monetary flows in a transactional economy. Effects considered: Following the stated purpose of evaluating effects within the economy only, the study focuses on three types of impacts: – Travel-related cost reduction including travel time and cost savings (associated with congestion and reliability improvements), as well as reduced car ownership costs. – Wider economic productivity effects associated with agglomeration economies (e.g., improved match- ing, collaboration, and operations associated with broader labor and customer markets). – Broader spending impacts associated with the circulation of capital and operations expenditures within the national economy, including indirect and induced effects. The study also acknowledges changes in property values that represent capitalizations of access improve- ments and travel time savings already accounted for, stating that while property values can be meaningful indicators to stakeholders they would be considered “double counting” in the sense that traveler benefits are directly estimated. Quantification approach: The study adopted two approaches to quantifying the economic impacts of transit, nationally. The first evaluates travel cost reduction impacts by comparing two alternate scenarios for long-term public transportation investment: a base case that maintains current ridership trends, and an enhanced scenario that significantly increases the level of investment over a period of 20 years. This scenario approach is employed to highlight the potential economic gains of a dramatic increase in tran- sit service and ridership over time. Embedded in the results, therefore, are assumptions about ridership, costs, and mode switching that do not lend themselves to transferability to other investment scenarios or situations. The analysis employs econometric equations within an economic impact model to estimate industry growth responses to cost changes and the effects of changes in travel time reliability and labor market access on business productivity. The second approach quantifies the current level of economic activity associated with transit capital and operations expenditures in the United States. This approach is not based on a scenario, but rather takes a snapshot of the existing role of transit investments and opera- tions within the broader economy. It used a national input-output model to track the pattern of direct expenditures associated with transit in the United States, the portion of products and services produced within the country, and the indirect and induced effects associated with demand at supplier industries and worker spending. TCRP Report 35: Economic Impact Analysis of Transit Investments: Guidebook for Practitioners (1998) Cambridge Systematics, Inc., R. Cervero, and D. Aschauer, TCRP Report 35: Economic Impact Analysis of Transit Investments: Guidebook for Practitioners, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1998 [Online] Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_ 35.pdf. Scope: TCRP Report 35 presents general guidance to practitioners on assessing the benefits and impacts of transit, from both a predictive (ex-ante) and evaluative (ex-post) perspective. The guide pur- posefully addresses a large range of benefits and impact types and measures, recognizing that different stakeholders or “consumers” of a study will have varying preferences for how to describe and enumerate

70 the effects of transit services or investments. The report addresses issues of potential “double counting,” but recognizes the value of multiple approaches to quantifying the effects of transit. Effects considered: The guide classifies the impacts of transit into three groups of effects: – Generative impacts that measure net gains associated with more efficient uses of resources. The authors include in this category user benefits (travel time, safety, and operating costs), regional employment and income growth not related to construction or operations, agglomeration and urbanization effects (i.e., increased productivity and lower public infrastructure costs), external benefits (air quality, noise pollution), effects associated with access to jobs for those with no alternate means of travel, and reduc- ing parking requirements. – Redistributive impacts that are locational shifts within a region of analysis. These include clustering of development, employment, or income growth around a transit station/line. These effects may be of interest to policymakers, but in the view of the authors do not represent net changes in activity within a region. (Note: this is a somewhat complex point because businesses do not tend to move unless there is some anticipated change in productivity or profitability—that is, unless they expect some net gain from the action). – Transfer impacts: the authors argue that stimulus effects of expenditures on transit capital projects and operations should be presented separately, as they represent effects associated with money that could have been spent otherwise, either by the government or by individuals (if tax rates are higher to cover transit investments). Quantification approach: The guide presents an inventory of common methods used to assess different types of transit impacts, including: Regional transportation-land use models; benefit–cost analysis; input- output models; economic forecasting and simulation models; statistical and non-statistical comparisons; case studies, interviews, focus groups, and surveys; physical conditions, real estate, and development sup- port analysis; and fiscal impact analysis. The guide makes a point of not discouraging analysts from assess- ing transit from multiple perspectives, stating that “it even might be appropriate to gauge the same impact in several ways,” but does caution against erroneous aggregation of metrics that might be different representa- tions of the same underlying performance gains (e.g., adding the value of saved time and property value increases associated with capitalization of those same travel time savings). TCRP Report 34: Assessment of the Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation (1998) Burkhardt, J. E., J. L. Hedrick, and A. T. McGavock, TCRP Report 34: Assessment of the Economic Impacts of Rural Public Transportation, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 1998 [Online]. Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_rpt_34.pdf. Scope: TCRP Report 34 presents the results of research into the ongoing economic role of rural transit in the United States, compared with a situation in which transit services are unavailable. The study employs measures of both impacts on the economy and measures of avoided costs (i.e., benefits) associated with the existence of transit. The study achieves three related objectives: (1) Describing the range of ways in which rural transit supports society and the economy, (2) outlining methodologies that can be used by decision- makers to value their own systems, and (3) describing how to design rural transit services to maximize their economic value, based on lessons learned from profiling transit system users and their relative dependence on rural transit services. Effects considered: The study addresses the economic role of rural public transportation from two perspectives, one broad and one specific, and includes measures of both benefits and impacts: – National analysis of impacts on the economy: The study assesses the aggregate relationship between rural transit availability and economic growth. – Local benefits for individual systems: The study enumerates and calculates benefits associated with the provision of transit, including transportation costs savings, safety improvements, and benefits associ- ated with maintaining access to employment and other forms of economic and social participation for those without alternate means of transportation. Given the profile of rural transit users, access benefits are a core focus of the study. Quantification approach: The study assesses the difference in net earnings growth for counties with and without public transportation systems. The study also presents methodologies for quantifying benefits including wage income enabled and avoided social assistance costs associated with access to employment, comparative costs of providing access to critical health services by transit versus alternate private means, comparative costs of independent senior living enabled by transit and the cost of nursing homes, monetized time savings associated with traffic reductions, avoided parking costs, and cost savings from avoided acci-

71 dents associated with fewer cars on the road. The study encourages a perspective that starts with the users of transit, characterizes the value of different types of trips enabled, and then asks the question: what would happen to these users if transit were not available? TCRP Web Document 56: Methodology for Determining the Economic Development Impacts of Transit Projects (2012) Chatman, D.G., et al., TCRP Web Document 56: Methodology for Determining the Economic Development Impacts of Transit Projects, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2004 [Online]. Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp_w56.pdf. Scope: TCRP Web Document 56 presents empirical research into the productivity impacts of agglom- eration effects from transit investments. The document presents methodologies for assessing new transit systems or major new capital investments. The intent of the research was to focus on wider economic benefits that are “in addition to land development stimulated by travel time savings.” The intended pur- pose of the research was to develop estimates of economic benefits that would not be affected by double- counting concerns when added to other traditional measures of benefit within a benefit–cost analysis. Effects considered: The study focused on the relationship between economic productivity and urban agglomeration, as derived from mechanisms such as “greater innovation due to more frequent contacts among a specialized labor force, reduced costs of producing goods when production equipment and knowledge are shared, and better matching of workers to firms.” The study acknowledges but purpose- fully excludes the following economic effects from its scope of investigation: direct expenditure impacts of construction, redistribution of economic activity around transit, other benefits of compact development, user benefits, and reductions in poverty or unemployment. Quantification approach: The research team conducted a national analysis of how wages and per- capita gross-domestic product (GDP) within metropolitan areas are related to transit capacity. The analysis adopted a two-step process that first estimated the statistical relationship between transit capacity (defined by track miles, seating capacity, rail-specific seating capacity, rail revenue miles, and total revenue miles) and agglomeration (measured using principal city employment density and total metro-area population), and subsequently estimated the effect of agglomeration on wages and GDP. The research team developed a spreadsheet tool based on the analysis for use by transportation professionals. The guide suggests that the tool be used to compare the effect of rail projects across different metro areas, but not to compare impacts to travel time savings or to compare different proposed systems within a given region. The major finding of the research is that agglomeration effects are highly influenced by city size and transit network maturity at the time of a proposed new transit capital investment. The report’s primary results are supplemented by region-specific analysis of firm and other development growth patterns in specific regions of the country. NCHRP Synthesis 290: Procedures for Assessing Economic Development Impacts from Transportation Investments (2000) Weisbrod, G., NCHRP Synthesis 290: Procedures for Assessing Economic Development Impacts from Transportation Investments, Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, Washington D.C., 2000 [Online]. Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_syn_290.pdf. Scope: NCHRP Synthesis 290 focuses on “economic development impacts” defined as effects on the flows of dollars or number of jobs within a specifically defined regional economy. The report addresses these effects across all modes of transportation, considering the relationship between transportation system performance and business operating costs, market reach, and productivity. The synthesis classifies studies by motivation, addressing studies performed for the purpose of evaluating proposed investments, public education studies of the ongoing role of transportation facilities, and studies for post-project evaluation. Effects considered: Although focusing on methods used to evaluate and quantify economic develop- ment impacts of transportation investments, the report situates these impacts within a broader framework of economic analysis, enumerating the following types of effects: – Social (or societal) impacts, which include all possible effects (positive and negative) that have value to society, including those more specific subsets identified here; – User impacts, which include impacts on travel time, expense, and safety for users of the transportation system, including those that result in actual changes in money flowing in the economy (e.g., vehicle operating costs) and those that are not priced within a transactional market (e.g., personal time);

72 – Economic development impacts, defined as impacts on the level of economic activity in a given area, derived from monetary effects on income and costs for households and businesses; and – Environmental and other externality impacts including air pollution, noise, visual blight, and quality of life factors experienced by society as a whole that may or may not be monetized based on society’s “willingness-to-pay.” The study found that economic development impact analyses are typically undertaken to measure progress toward more fundamental goals such as ensuring economic wellbeing, providing opportunity for gainful employment and economic mobility, and ensuring long-term economic stability within a region. Measuring growth in wages, jobs, or business activity is a proxy for progress toward these more fundamen- tal goals. The study also found that agencies view economic development impact analysis as a complement, rather than a substitute, for user-benefit or benefit–cost studies. Moreover, the study points out that although some economic development impact measures can be included within a classic benefit–cost analysis (to the extent they do not overlap with other measures of user and non-user benefits), these effects are also independent of interest to practitioners over and above the social efficiency perspective provided by a benefit–cost analysis. Quantification approach: The study inventories methods used to assess economic development impacts including interviews and surveys, market studies, case studies, econometric analyses and forecasts based on observed past experience, the use of regional economic models (including both dynamic simulation and static input-output models), and the use of traffic and land-use models. All methods are used to try to untangle the causal relationship between investments in transportation and subsequent changes in the scale or nature of economic activity in a region. Although many of the evaluation approaches enumerated were developed to compare alternate investment strategies, there is a particular class of analyses that focuses instead on the economic role of existing facilities and services, either by tracing the flow of dollars asso- ciated with a facility or service within a regional economy or by enumerating the economic losses that would be experienced in a region if a facility or service was discontinued or significantly altered. NCHRP Synthesis 290 reported that this type of study is particularly relevant to transit, because of its unique role as a basic supporting service. national institute for Transportation and Communities, National Study of BRT Development Outcomes (2015) Ganning, J. and A. C. Nelson, National Study of BRT Development Outcomes, Final Report, NITC-UU-14-650, National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC), Portland State University, Portland, Ore., 2015 [Online] Available: http://t4america.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NATIONAL-STUDY-OF-BRT- DEVELOPMENT-OUTCOMES-11-30-15.pdf. Scope: This report investigates the development outcomes associated with bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in the United States. Given the relative newness of BRT as a mode within the United States, the research was structured to investigate (1) development outcomes associated with BRT, and (2) the influ- ence of BRT design on development outcomes, using ex-post statistical analyses of outcomes relative to control locations and background regional development trends. The researchers established a need for this research by discussing the relationship between rail transit, spatial clustering, and economic development gains from agglomeration economies, as recognized in prior research, and then asking the question: “do these theories and findings apply as well to bus rapid transit systems?” Effects considered: The report investigates multiple indicators of development outcomes including: rate of employment change (total and by industry sector); office rents; the percent of median household income consumed by transportation costs (a measure of affordability); and the rate of change of popula- tion, household characteristics (e.g., income, age, and presence of children), and housing units and char- acteristics (vacancy, renter proportion). The research takes as given the relationship between concentrated urban development and economic gains (agglomeration economies) and therefore focuses exclusively on the relationships between BRT investments and development outcomes. Quantification approach: The study examines 12 BRT systems located in 10 areas across the county and adopts a wide range of quasi-experimental analytical methods including: – A shift-share analysis of employment change in BRT station areas compared with metropolitan level trends as well as trends at reference locations; – Regression models comparing employment change in BRT station areas compared with control points within the same county; – A hedonic analysis of office rents, including location within a BRT corridor in the model specification; – A regression of transportation cost share against a variety of household and locational attributes, including distance from a BRT station; and – A comparison of rates of change of population, household, and housing characteristics in BRT station areas, relative to metro areas as a whole.

73 The study was structured to investigate whether and to what extent BRT systems do indeed influence development patterns. The researchers use multiple approaches and measures and do not endeavor to directly assess the relationship between BRT and economic gains (or to generate a single “impact” or “benefit” number). Instead, they test whether BRT, such as rail transit, influences development patterns. Victoria Transport policy institute, Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs: Best Practices Guidebook (2015) Littman, T., Evaluating Public Transit Benefits and Costs: Best Practices Guidebook, Victoria Transport Policy Institute, Victoria, BC, Canada, 2015 [Online]. Available: http://www.vtpi.org/tranben.pdf. Scope: This report identified the range of possible benefit–cost analysis factors applicable for transit, and then provides a comprehensive framework for applying all of them in the BCA context. For each benefit and cost factor, the document summarizes national and international research on its incidence patterns and trends, forms of measurement, and range of assigning monetary values. It is notable for its comprehen- siveness in cataloging an extremely wide set of different benefit and cost factors. It classifies each type of benefits into categories relating to benefit types (e.g., transit travel, automobile travel, environment, and transit-oriented development effects) and forms of mobility benefit (e.g., user benefit, public service benefit, equity benefit, productivity benefit, and option value benefit). It provides information on typical unit valua- tion factors and how they vary by transit mode (bus, rail, etc.). Effects considered: The report covers benefits relating to transit service (speed, reliability, comfort, safety), transit travel (cost, health, comfort), automobile travel (congestion reduction, consumer savings, chauffeuring burdens, energy consumption), and transit-oriented development (accessibility gains, crime reduction, farmland preservation, etc.). It also highlights factors that tend to be overlooked or undervalued. Quantification approach: The report compiles findings from research in North America (and to a lesser extent, around the world) regarding average valuation of various types of costs and benefits. It provides tables of typical values for travel time, vehicle operating cost, safety, pollution, wages, road space use, time delays (by mode and trip purpose), etc. national Center for Transit Research, Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit (2014) Godavarthy, R., J. Mattson, and E. Ndembe, Cost-Benefit Analysis of Rural and Small Urban Transit, U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C., 2014 [Online]. Available: http://www.nctr.usf.edu/ wp-content/uploads/2014/07/77060-NCTR-NDSU03.pdf. Scope: This study examines the ongoing role of rural and small urban transit systems, nationally, com- pared with the absence of transit. Rural systems are defined as those receiving FTA Section 5311 formula grants and small urban systems are defined as those serving areas with populations below 200,000. The study includes estimates of benefits and economic impacts associated with transit expenditures. Effects considered: The study classifies three primary categories of transit effects: (1) transporta- tion costs savings, relative to next-best mode of travel; (2) benefits from trips that would be foregone without transit; and (3) impacts on the economy associated with stimulus effects of spending on transit. Intentionally excluded from consideration are classes of effects that are relatively insignificant in small urban and rural areas: parking cost savings and land-use/development effects. The report also discusses a number of less tangible benefits including agglomeration economies, community cohesion, cost savings from avoided relocation of those (primarily the elderly) who would need to move without transit access, groundwater and noise pollution impacts, and the availability of transit during emergencies. Quantification approach: The study estimates transportation costs savings for individuals using tran- sit in place of another mode including vehicle ownership and operation cost savings, avoided chauffeuring costs, taxi fare savings, travel time savings, crash cost savings, and environmental emissions cost saving. These estimates require a significant number of assumptions about the travel conditions that would be experienced by users were transit unavailable. The study also estimates “mobility benefits” that result when trips are enabled that would otherwise be impossible. Medical trips are valued using prior research that demonstrates how non-emergency medical transportation minimizes medical complications, avoids costlier medical care, and enhances quality of life. Work trips are valued based on avoided spending on social assistance programs for the unemployed. Other trips are valued in terms of consumer surplus, based on the next-best transportation alternative available. Finally, the study calculates economic impacts of spending on transit, using a custom spreadsheet model that employs the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) of the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. This analysis is performed for both the total amount of transit expenditures and for the portion of funds that are sourced non-locally for a given area

74 of analysis. The study calculates benefit–cost ratios for systems at a state-level, incorporating cost sav- ings and mobility benefits. The authors also conduct a sensitivity analysis demonstrating the sensitivity of finding to key assumptions about transit trip purpose and percent of foregone trips in the absence of transit (i.e., degree of dependence). TCRP Report 78: Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Public Transit Projects: A Guidebook for Practitioners (2002) ECONorthwest and Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., TCRP Report 78: Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Public Transit Projects: A Guidebook for Practitioners, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2002 [Online]. Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/ onlinepubs/tcrp/tcrp78/guidebook/tcrp78.pdf. Scope: TCRP Report 78 is a guidebook targeted specifically at helping practitioners complete benefit– cost analyses of prospective transit projects. The benefit–cost framework is adopted as a way of differ- entiating projects or programs in terms of their relative efficiency, in order to support better decision making about transit investments. Effects considered: Using the lens of a formal benefit–cost analysis, the report focuses on how to enumerate and then quantify non-overlapping benefits in a consistent manner, so that they can then be compared with project costs. The report also addresses other types of effects that might be described either qualitatively or quantitatively to support a robust policy discussion, but not added as benefits within a benefit–cost ratio itself. The report divides the universe of benefits into: – Basic benefits: these include user costs such as travel time, out-of-pocket costs, and safety effects per- ceived by users. They also include secondary effects that accrue beyond direct system users such as the option value of having transit available (but not necessarily using it), environmental effects (air, water, and noise pollution), and external safety effects born by the public at large and not by users directly. – Other benefits that are important to the decision-maker but cannot necessarily be added to the numerator of a benefit–costs analysis (as a result of double-counting issues or other analytical considerations and limitations): these include land development effects and property values, productivity gains and urban- ization/agglomeration effects, employment access for those without alternate means of mobility, stimu- lus effects from transit construction and operations expenditures, and equity and distributional effects. Quantification approach: The guide presents methodologies for monetizing the following to be counted in the numerator of a benefit–cost ratio: travel time; out-of-pocket costs; safety, the option value of tran- sit; air, water, and noise pollution; the reduced need for traffic policing and court costs related to reduced vehicular travel, and reduced parking requirements. The guide also suggests descriptive, and in some cases quantitative, analyses of the following factors, outside of the benefit–cost ratio calculation: land-use and development effects, productivity gains and urbanization/agglomeration effects, enhanced access to jobs for those without alternate means of travel, property values, stimulus effects from transit expenditures, and equity or distributional effects. Many of these latter “benefits” are issues that can be assessed using a variety of the economic impact-oriented approaches outlined by NCHRP Synthesis 290 and applied in the 2014 APTA economic impact study. The TCRP Report 78 guide recognizes the importance of these issues to decision-makers, as part of a broader policy discussion, alongside formal benefit–cost analysis results. The guide also suggests that analysts conduct a detailed financial analysis of sources of revenues to address project feasibility and equity issues. Mineta Transportation institute, The Benefits of Transit in The United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies (2015) Ferrell, C. E., The Benefits of Transit in the United States: A Review and Analysis of Benefit-Cost Studies, Report WP 12-04, Mineta Transportation Institute, San Jose, Calif., 2015 [Online]. Available: http://transweb. sjsu.edu/PDFs/research/1425-US-transit-benefit-cost-analysis-study.pdf. Scope: This study is a meta-analysis of transit studies completed in the United States. The study classi- fies findings according to geographic focus (rural, small urban, urban) and focuses on the existing role of entire transit systems, rather than on individual transit projects or lines. The study addresses both monetized cost savings (benefits), as well as effects on jobs and the economy. Effects considered: The study identifies the following ways in which transit improves society as a whole; by ameliorating traffic congestion, by supporting jobs and the economy, by reducing health care costs through improved access to services, by offering out-of-pocket cost savings for travelers, and by offering lower overall traffic accident rates.

75 Quantification approach: As a meta-analysis, this study does not itself quantify effects but rather reports findings from other studies. In their cross-tabulation of reported results, the authors note the difficulty of comparing benefit–cost ratios across geographies and studies, because the ratios are highly dependent on the methodology chosen and the types of effects included. The study also discusses how benefits may vary by level of urbanization. In particular, the authors describe how auto congestion benefits increase with the size of the metro area served, and the level of transit service provided (e.g., large rail systems versus bus-only systems). (Note: In assembling results from other studies the report glosses over some of the differences between social benefits and economic impacts that are addressed in the original reports cited. For example, economic effects are treated as an independent category of benefit, rather than a distinct analytical approach that may overlap with other categories of benefit). Canadian Urban Transit Association, The Economic Impact of Transit Investment: A National Survey (2015) Metropolitan Knowledge International, McCormick Rankin Corporation, and J. Casello, The Economic Impact of Transit Investment: A National Survey, prepared for the Canadian Urban Transit Association, Toronto, ON, Canada 2010 [Online]. Available: http://cutaactu.ca/sites/default/files/final_cuta-economic benefitsoftransit-finalreportesept2010.pdf. Scope: Despite the title use of “economic impact,” this report focuses mostly on quantifying various elements of economic benefits associated with transit. It describes the economic role of transit in terms of its ability to reduce the negative externality effects of automobiles and to generate benefits that include cost reductions for travelers, reduced cost of accidents, savings in health care, and support for transit jobs. Although the terminology about economic impacts, roles, and benefits can be difficult to sort out, the report is comprehensive in bringing together a compendium of national data regarding transit activity, ridership, revenues, employment, and its effects on productivity, taxes, property values, and quality of life. The authors organized this information in terms of “multiple account evaluation” (MCE)—a way of orga- nizing and describing the various forms of costs, benefits, and spending impacts that result from transit investment without attempting to combine them in any formal analytic framework. The report also sum- marizes findings of local studies conducted in various Canadian cities and regions concerning the societal benefits and payback from transit investments. Effects considered: The multiple accounts include direct economic impacts (output, employment, and taxes generated by capital and operations spending), direct user benefits (travel time, operating cost, and accident reduction), environmental cost reduction (air contaminant, greenhouse gas, and sprawl reduction), and social/community benefits (public health benefits from enhanced physical activity and air quality). Quantification approach: The report assembles data on the transit industry and operations in Canada (including budgets, fleets, services, and ridership) and then applies unit cost or benefit factors, drawing many of the valuation factors from other previous Canadian studies. NCHRP Research Results Digest 393: Selected Indirect Benefits of State Investment in Public Transportation (2015) Cambridge Systematics Inc., Research Results Digest 393: Selected Indirect Benefits of State Investment in Public Transportation, Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, Washington, D.C., 2015 [Online]. Available: http://onlinepubs.trb.org/onlinepubs/nchrp/nchrp_rrd_393.pdf. Scope: This report summarizes the literature of available research regarding measurement and valuation of the “indirect benefits” of transit investment. These are factors that are normally viewed by economists as distributional rather than efficiency effects. They include effects of transit service on needs for unemploy- ment compensation, health, education, and other social services. This topic is important to public policy, but these factors are generally left out of transit analyses that involve formal benefit–cost calculations or eco- nomic impact models. The reason why these factors are generally excluded from economic benefit studies is that these are effects on dependent subgroups of the population who either (a) generate social service costs that could be saved if better transit service were to be offered, or (b) currently depend on transit service and would generate added social service costs if transit service was stopped. In terms of formal BCA guidance, these effects are seen as transfers between transit funding and social service funding that have no effect on net benefit calculations. However, there is still substantial public policy interest in strategies that can reduce dependence on social services and enhance the well-being of residents and hence it is important to review this line of literature. Effects considered: The study reviews available research literature that pertains to the measurement of incidence and valuation of transit impacts on access to health care, education, employment, and social services.

76 Quantification approach: The report reviews how researchers have calculated a value of transit access benefits for low income and other dependent populations, based on either (a) avoided costs of public assis- tance services for government, or (b) net disposable income for households. Embarq. Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts of BRT Systems: Bus Rapid Transit Case Studies from Around the World (2013) Carrigan, A., et al., Social, Environmental and Economic Impacts of BRT Systems, Bus Rapid Transit Case Studies from Around the World, World Resources Institute. HSBC, Washington, D.C., 2013, 149 pp. [Online]. Available: http://www.wrirosscities.org/sites/default/files/Social-Environmental-Economic-Impacts-BRT- Bus-Rapid-Transit-EMBARQ.pdf. Scope: This report is an ex-post evaluation of the triple-bottom-line (social, environmental, and economic) impacts of BRT systems, based on a review of published literature and particular experiences at locations throughout the world. The report discusses monetized benefits within a traditional benefit–cost framework, as well as other types of impacts that are considered separately. Effects considered: The report considers the following effects of BRT on cities: travel time benefits, environmental impacts, public health and safety benefits, and urban development changes. Quantification approach: The report groups BRT impacts into two categories: those quantified within a traditional benefit–cost methodology and those addressed separately. The benefit–cost methodology is applied to four cases (Bogota, Mexico City, Johannesburg, and Istanbul) and includes monetization of the following benefits: travel time savings, private vehicle and transit operating cost changes, carbon dioxide emissions changes, safety impacts, changes in exposure to air pollutants, and changes in physical activity (associated with greater stop spacing and increased willingness to walk to access high-speed BRT services). The study is somewhat unique in that it also presents data on the distribution of costs and benefits across income classes. Outside the benefit–cost methodology the report separately addresses the following effects: changes in the location and type of land development near stations, changes in land values near stations, job creation associated with system construction and operations, crime reduction impacts, and tax revenue impacts associated with the formalization of the transit economy (compared with prior informal transit systems). Like other studies, the report describes how land values represent capitalization of travel time savings, and discusses the nuances of stimulus effects of spending and whether they can be considered net new to an area or simple reallocation of workers from one sector to another.

Next: Appendix B - Survey Questionnaire »
Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit Get This Book
×
MyNAP members save 10% online.
Login or Register to save!
Download Free PDF

TRB's Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 128: Practices for Evaluating the Economic Impacts and Benefits of Transit provides state-of-the-practice information for transit agencies to help them in incorporating economic benefits and impacts into their decision-making processes, which may lead to more sustainable funding solutions for transit agencies. The report 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.

  1. ×

    Welcome to OpenBook!

    You're looking at OpenBook, NAP.edu's online reading room since 1999. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.

    Do you want to take a quick tour of the OpenBook's features?

    No Thanks Take a Tour »
  2. ×

    Show this book's table of contents, where you can jump to any chapter by name.

    « Back Next »
  3. ×

    ...or use these buttons to go back to the previous chapter or skip to the next one.

    « Back Next »
  4. ×

    Jump up to the previous page or down to the next one. Also, you can type in a page number and press Enter to go directly to that page in the book.

    « Back Next »
  5. ×

    To search the entire text of this book, type in your search term here and press Enter.

    « Back Next »
  6. ×

    Share a link to this book page on your preferred social network or via email.

    « Back Next »
  7. ×

    View our suggested citation for this chapter.

    « Back Next »
  8. ×

    Ready to take your reading offline? Click here to buy this book in print or download it as a free PDF, if available.

    « Back Next »
Stay Connected!