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Connecticut DOT Review: Analyzing the Economic Impacts of Transportation Projects

The Connecticut Department of Transportation has released a report that explores the methods, approaches, and analytical software tools for analyzing economic activity that results from large-scale transportation investments in the state. The report by the Connecticut Academy of Sciences and Engineering, recommended TREDIS as one of only two tools that meet its criteria for economic impact analysis -- noting that:
 
"Both TranSight and TREDIS are comprehensive economic models that can be utilized to conduct economic impact analyses of transportation investments. The models are fully calibrated to the region's economy and the analyst can adjust parameters of the economy to specify local industry structures and household behaviors. Both models are capable of examining transportation investment projects from a variety of perspectives, including understanding the changes in economic activity due to transportation investments (i.e., estimation-type studies) and also for evaluating the economic value of transportation projects (i.e., evaluation-type studies)."
 
The report also noted key features that make TREDIS unique:
 
"The input screens for TREDIS are sequential, compartmentalized and the model reflects its methodological underpinnings with a more granular and controlled feel to the software." (p.63)
 
"TREDIS also applies econometric principles in many of the same ways as TranSight uses data to determine parameters for cross-sectional and trend estimation procedures. However, TREDIS's approach leverages more extensive industry detail, which should increase its accuracy." (p.57)
 
"TREDIS breaks out modes of travel demand in much more detail and has more modes available. Again, this breakout is a result of TREDIS's more granular, user-friendly and direct approach. Thus, TREDIS allows the user to specify the modes of transportation that will be involved in the project and ignore modes not involved after the second step of the input structure. The detailed modes of transportation available in TREDIS include various uses for bikes and walking, and multiple modes associated with aircraft and marine ships" (p.73)
 
To view the report online, click here.
 
Readers should note that while this is generally a very good report, it did have a few inaccuracies - mainly reporting that TREDIS lacked the ability to model population migration and goods movement impacts when those elements are in fact covered. For more information, click here and scroll down to see the "Household and Land Use Report" and "Freight Reports".

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