Applying Benefit-Cost Analysis to Freight Project Selection: Lessons from the Corps of Engineers

State and local transportation agencies are encouraged to use benefit-cost analysis for project selection, and proposals are occasionally made to require benefit-cost analysis as part of the planning and project development processes for all publicly funded freight projects. Such a requirement already exists for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which must conduct benefit-cost analysis for its civilian navigation and flood control projects. The experience is mixed, with some arguing that benefit-cost analysis has saved the nation from wasteful projects while others argue that benefit-cost analysis has paralyzed decision making, encouraged underinvestment, or put environmental restoration efforts at an inappropriate disadvantage. Congress has recently required that the Corps convene expertise from the National Academies to review its benefit-cost analysis methods. If state departments of transportation and metropolitan planning organizations are to be required or strongly encouraged to apply benefit-cost methods to all freight investments, then the experience of the Corps should be carefully considered so that mistakes are not repeated and successes are built upon. The objective of this research is to summarize past studies and testimonies on the effectiveness of benefit-cost analysis at the Corps of Engineers, supplemented by interviews with past and present Corps officials and stakeholders.</font></div>


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 22

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Department of Transportation

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration
    Washington, DC  USA  20590

    National Cooperative Freight Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001
  • Project Managers:

    Rogers, William

  • Start Date: 20090301
  • Source Data: RiP Project 21212

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01462194
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 22
  • Files: TRB, RiP, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 1:59PM