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What it does

TREDIS® is the transportation economics suite – a unique decision support system for transportation planners that spans economic impact analysis, benefit-cost analysis, and financial analysis, as well as freight and trade impact analysis.  It is the only system applicable for all modes – covering passenger and freight transport via aviation, marine and rail modes, as well as truck, car, bus, bicycle, and pedestrian travel.  In today’s world, the interactions among modes can be important considerations affecting transportation plans and economic impacts.  TREDIS 5 adds dramatic new visualizaton and analysis capabilities.


The system enables transportation planners and policy analysts to quickly conduct analysis and obtain understandable results.  It is widely recognized for its high level of documentation, which is backed by published research, and its transparency, allowing users to trace the calculation of results.

What is special

  1. TREDIS is complete.  It can be used to assess impacts and benefits of capital investments, operations, maintenance, and financing for all transportation modes and types of projects.  It can show local and regional impacts in terms of changes in costs, productivity, employment and economic growth, as well as benefits associated with energy use and environmental effects.

  2. TREDIS incorporates wider economic benefits into transportation evaluation.  Its integrated framework ensures a consistent and accurate accounting of impacts that can be viewed from the perspectives of different stakeholders, study areas, time periods and modes.  This enables unique insights into the nature of project benefits, and it helps tell a believable story to stakeholder audiences.

  3. As an internet cloud-based system, TREDIS enables simultaneous use by multiple agencies and staff members, evaluating multiple projects with study areas and time periods that can be redefined by users as needed.  It also enables state, regional and local agencies to partner, share data, and ensure consistency in their work.

  4. Finally, TREDIS employs a dynamic economic simulation to estimate short-term and long-term impacts with sensitivity to factors that can be affected by transportation – such as changes in rural accessibility, urban congestion, intermodal connectivity and reliability, as well as changes in costs, speeds, and traffic volumes.  TREDIS also uses new GIS and economic geography tools to account for effects on labor and delivery market areas.

Who uses it

TREDIS, the most widely used system for economic impact analysis of transportation projects in the US and Canada, is now being used in Australia.  Click here to view



TREDIS is an integrated system comprised of elements that work together as a total solution.  It does not require any other analysis tools or models.  Yet the system is also flexible so users can substitute their own analysis tools in place of some elements, or customize TREDIS to work with other planning and analysis tools.

TREDIS Structure

Unlike “black box” methods, each of the key elements of TREDIS is well-defined and clearly documented, using techniques backed by peer-reviewed publications and approved by public agencies. The key elements are summarized below; see the resources section for further documentation.

Travel Costs

This module translates changes in traffic volumes, vehicle occupancy, speed, distance, reliability, and safety into travel efficiency changes and direct cost savings for household and business travel.  It applies practices for travel modeling and economic valuation that are widely accepted by metropolitan, state, and federal agencies.  Unlike other models, the TREDIS Travel Cost Module fully covers all modes of travel and the widest possible range of fuel and vehicle types, as well as schedule and operating performance conditions.

Market Access

This module translates changes in market access and intermodal connectivity into effects on agglomeration, dispersion, scale economies, and productivity for various industry sectors.  It applies calculation methods backed by peer-reviewed publications for estimating wider economic impacts.  Unlike other models, the TREDIS Market Access Module fully distinguishes effects on passenger access and freight access, for both local urban markets and same-day regional access markets, as well as connectivity to intermodal terminals.

Benefit-Cost Analysis

This module calculates the net present value of project benefits and costs from the differing perspectives of federal, state, and local agencies.  It avoids double-counting and follows the benefit-cost guidance of USDOT modal agencies and Transport Canada, and the internet guide to Transportation Benefit-Cost Analysis hosted by the TRB Economics Committee.  Unlike some other models, the TREDIS Benefit-Cost Module fully complies with USDOT TIGER Grant rules. It has helped applicants successfully obtain funding through these grant programs

Economic Adjustment

This module incorporates a dynamic, multi-regional economic-demographic model to estimate impacts on employment and income growth over time. The model accounts for changes in productivity, capital investment, labor supply and demand, employment and wage shifts, and population migration. It builds upon inter-industry buy/sell relationships and inter-regional trade flows from IMPLAN, demographic and economic model forecasts from Moody’s, geospatial data from ESRI and employment data from US BEA. It incorporates economic geography and econometric response factors to represent industry responses to changes in relative costs and scale of market access, as documented in peer reviewed publications.  Unlike other models, the TREDIS Economic Adjustment Module fully represents equilibrium shifts in economic activity and induced population changes.

Finance Analysis

This module calculates the effects of transportation and economic changes on revenues, expenditures and cash flow for both private sector and public sector entities. It includes calculation of effects of changes in tolls, taxes and pricing of transportation services, as well as local, state & federal tax revenues resulting from projects, programs or policies.  Unlike other models, the TREDIS Finance Module enables sketch planning assessment of PPP scenarios from both public and private sector perspectives.

Freight and Trade

This optional module shows the volume and type of freight moving into, out of, through, and within a given region that will occur because of a project or program’s impact on the economy. It translates changes in a region’s economic growth (which is represented in dollar terms) into freight tonnage flows, and changes in volume of trucks.  Unlike other models, the TREDIS Freight Module shows impacts by commodity being shipped, by mode (air, marine, truck, rail), as well as by origin and destination within the US and abroad.


How TREDIS Can Help

TREDIS is designed to recognize the unique issues faced by each step or sequence in the transportation planning process.  Its input forms and output reports are tailored to meet those needs ...from long-range plans to project selection, alternatives analysis and asset management.  

Using the assisted mode, the system will query the user regarding the type of problem and audience, and then tailor its input needs and result outputs to match that situation.  This makes TREDIS easy to use by transportation planners...without requiring a PhD in economics!

 Hover on each stage in the graphic to see key aspects of TREDIS applicable for it.

TREDIS also maintains its expert mode, allowing the user to have complete control over their analysis inputs and results.

For more information read the article:  "Using Economic Impact Analysis to Develop Supportable Transportation Decisions - Across All Planning Stages."


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