Strengthening the economic vitality of a region (jobs and income) is one of the primary reasons for investing in highway capacity. Governments and taxpayers need to know whether a region will be better off economically as a result of proposed transportation investment. Current tools for estimating economic impacts of highway capacity projects are often complex and their outcomes can be difficult to explain to decision makers and the public.
The SHRP2 Transportation Project Impact Case Studies (C03) and Tools for Assessing Wider Economic Benefits of Transportation (C11), are two products that were combined into EconWorks, a new bundle of economic analysis tools including web-based sketch planning tools, statistical models, case studies, and a practitioners’ handbook. This product bundle helps planners make broader-based, more realistic assessments of the wider economic impacts of highway capacity projects, which in turn leads to better decisions, more prudent investments, and – ultimately – a more robust economy at the local, regional, and national levels. These products were bundled together because of their technical and subject-matter commonalities as a result of an executive review committee consisting of AASHTO and FHWA leaders.