Oregon, like other states across America, is facing increasing needs for highway and other transportation infrastructure. Most importantly, businesses across the state are becoming concerned about increases in traffic delays and highway system limitations, which are being felt in rural areas as well as urban areas. Concerned about the nature of future highway needs and their impact on the statewide economic competitiveness for the 21st century, the Oregon Business Alliance and other private and public organizations banded together to sponsor a study of these needs and their economic importance for the state's economy in the future. The study was sponsored by the Oregon Business Council, in conjunction with Associated Oregon Industries, the Port of Portland, Oregon Department of Transportation and the Westside Economic Alliance.
The analysis showed that a variety of trends -- growth in business markets and delivery trip lengths, trends toward larger trucks, greater use of intermodal connections, vehicle weight and size changes, and seasonal tourism -- are all affecting future transportation needs and conditions in the state. Using the Transportation Economic Development Impact System (TREDIS), the study showed that these changes in transportation conditions will have important impacts on business operating costs, household costs and market access, leading to additional implications for future economic productivity, competitiveness and growth in the state. TREDIS was used in tandem with Oregon DOT's Gen1/TRANUS transportation and land use modeling system.
The study evaluated future scenarios representing alternative levels of investment in highway and transit transportation infrastructure across the state. It found that investment as called for in the Oregon Transportation Plan can have substantial positive impacts on statewide economic competitiveness and growth. It also concluded that failure to maintain a well-functioning transportation system can reduce the quality of life for Oregon residents and reduce the competitiveness of the state for attracting business investment, affecting future job growth and income for Oregon residents. The report is available from the Oregon Business Plan web site.