This research focuses on investment in roads and highways in part because it is the largest component of public infrastructure in the United States. Moreover, the procedures by which federal highway grants are distributed to states help us identify more precisely how transportation spending affects economic activity.
We find that unanticipated increases in highway spending have positive but temporary effects on GSP, both in the short and medium run. The short-run effect is consistent with a traditional Keynesian channel in which output increases because of a rise in aggregate demand, combined with slow-to-adjust prices. In contrast, the positive response of GSP over the medium run is in line with a supply-side effect due to an increase in the economy’s productive capacity.
To address this problem, countries, states, and provinces around the world have created specialized institutional entities—called PPP units—to fulfill different functions such as quality control, policy formulation, and technical advice. The federal government should establish a dedicated PPP unit to tackle bottlenecks in the PPP process, protect the public interest, and provide technical assistance to states and other public entities that cannot develop the internal capacity necessary to deal with the projects themselves.
Sustainable mobility policy for long-distance transportation services should consider emerging automobiles and aircraft as well as infrastructure and supply chain life-cycle effects in the assessment of new high-speed rail systems. Using the California corridor, future automobiles, high-speed rail and aircraft long-distance travel are evaluated, considering emerging fuel-efficient vehicles, new train designs and the possibility that the region will meet renewable electricity goals. An attributional per passenger-kilometer-traveled life-cycle inventory is first developed including vehicle, infrastructure and energy production components. A consequential life-cycle impact assessment is then established to evaluate existing infrastructure expansion against the construction of a new high-speed rail system. The results show that when using the life-cycle assessment framework, greenhouse gas footprints increase significantly and human health and environmental damage potentials may be dominated by indirect and supply chain components. The environmental payback is most sensitive to the number of automobile trips shifted to high-speed rail, and for greenhouse gases is likely to occur in 20–30 years. A high-speed rail system that is deployed with state-of-the-art trains, electricity that has met renewable goals, and in a configuration that endorses high ridership will provide significant environmental benefits over existing modes. Opportunities exist for reducing the long-distance transportation footprint by incentivizing large automobile trip shifts, meeting clean electricity goals and reducing material production effects.
The full paper and supplemental data can be found here.
This week Britian's Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech on infrastructure. He touched upon many different industries and modes, but this is what he said about highways:
Now, road tolling is one option, but we are only considering this for new, not existing capacity. For example, we’re looking at how improvements to the A14 could be part-funded through tolling. But we now need to be more ambitious. We should be asking ourselves, ‘Why is it that other infrastructure’ — for example, water — ‘is funded by private sector capital through privately owned, independently regulated utilities, but roads in Britain still call on the public finances for funding?’ We need to look urgently at the options for getting large-scale private investment into the national roads network; from sovereign wealth funds, from pension funds, from other investors. That is why I’ve asked the Department for Transport and the Treasury to carry out a feasibility study of new ownership and financing models for the national roads system and to report progress to me in the autumn. Let me be clear: this is not about mass tolling and, as I’ve said, we’re not tolling existing roads; it’s about getting more out of the money that motorists already pay.
This week’s special Wednesday TRANSOC Seminar has Dr. Hironori Kato, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Tokyo, presenting “Impacts of Fukushima-Daiichi Nuclear Disaster on Port Activities in Japan and Maritime Transportation to and from Japan: Latest Report.”
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011 stressed the importance of reconsidering catastrophic disaster and risk management in international transportation policies and markets. This presentation will examine the impacts of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster on port activities and maritime transportation in Japan, with emphasis on the effect of port traffic diversion as international vessels began avoiding areas of high radiation including ports in Tokyo/Yokohama and the Tohoku region. The process used by shipping companies to make these diversion decisions will be investigated, through a combination of literature review and interviews with port authorities and shippers. This presentation will also examine the reactions of port users to the high levels of radiation, as well as the countermeasures taken by port authorities to discourage traffic diversion.Key lessons are drawn from Japan’s experiences for international transportation engineers, policy makers and business leaders.
The seminar will be held on March 14 from 3-4 p.m. in 544 Davis Hall.
Tomorrow's TRANSOC Friday Semiar has Ph.D. candidate Jeff Lidicker presenting, "Pavement Resurfacing Policy for Minimization of Life-cycle Costs and Greenhouse Gas Emissions."
In recent decades pavement management optimization has been designed with the objective of minimizing user and agency costs. However, recent analyses indicate that pavement management decisions also have significant impacts on life-cycle GHG emissions. This study endeavors to expand beyond minimization of life-cycle costs, to also include GHG emissions. We extend previous work on the single-facility, continuous-state, continuous-time optimal pavement resurfacing problem, to solve the multi-criteria optimization problem with the two objectives of minimizing costs and GHG emissions. Results indicate that there is a tradeoff between costs and emissions when developing a pavement resurfacing policy, providing a range of GHG emissions reduction cost-effectiveness options. Case studies for an arterial and a major highway are presented to highlight the contrast between policy decisions for various pavement and vehicle technologies.
The seminar will take place on December 9 at 4:00 PM in 212 O'Brien Hall. (That's a new location!) There won't be a Cookie Hour this week as well. We'll see you in the new year!