Publication Detail

Benefit-Cost Analysis of Multimodal Projects for State-Wide Prioritization of Capacity Investments


Research Report

Suggested Citation:
Reed, Tracy L., Joel P. Franklin, Debbie A. Niemeier, T. Rufulo (1998) Benefit-Cost Analysis of Multimodal Projects for State-Wide Prioritization of Capacity Investments. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-98-03

To date, there are few states that have implemented comprehensive transportation prioritization models for added capacity investments. The Oregon Department of Transportation's (ODOT) is in the process of developing a new prioritization model that derives its foundation from recent developments in Washington state. The new framework has been tailored specifically to Oregon with the guidance of planning documents and Administrative Rules. Working in conjunction with a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) composed of representatives from the Metropolitan Planning Organizations, ODOT headquarters and ODOT regions, the new prioritization methodology will include seven categories of evaluation criteria: land use; environment and resources; cost efficiency; economic development; multi-modal choice; community support, and accessibility.

The purpose of this study is to present 10 case studies that describe the analysis techniques that will be used to develop costs and benefits for the range of multi-modal projects expected to be included in the prioritization process. The evaluation criteria were assembled based on an extensive analysis of Oregon's major policy documents. These documents clearly make the selection of transportation projects integral with the state planning process. The referenced documents include (see Attachment A for specific planning and policy references related to the cost-efficiency criterion):
  • The Oregon Transportation Plan
  • The Oregon Transportation Plan Update
  • Oregon Benchmarks
  • Oregon Administrative Rules
  • Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act
The report is organized into four sections. Section I continues with an overview of the case study projects. Section II presents the general framework of the benefit-cost analysis and the specific procedures applicable to the 10 case study projects. In Section III, we discuss tradeoffs and externalities associated with the evaluation of benefits and costs of transportation improvements. Finally, the resulting benefit-cost analyses for the case study projects are used to produce a sample ranking.

This report also includes an attachment, Attachment B, containing several generic cost-efficiency worksheets for a range of project types. For the purposes of presenting the methods described in the case study, actual data were used where available and reasonable estimates were assumed whenever data was unavailable.