Synthesis of Information Related to Highway Practices. Topic 48-15. Determine the Value of Multimodal Projects Versus Added Capacity Highway Projects

Departments of transportation are responsible for providing the traveling public with a reliable and safe transportation system. In the past, this has meant building new roadways or adding lanes to existing roads, but as the population continues to grow, this may not be the most efficient way to address congestion and provide reliable trip times. With the increased interest in passenger rail and high-speed rail as a means to address the growing congestion problem, there is a need to summarize the different methods used by transportation agencies to quantify the benefits of a railway project versus a highway project. This synthesis study will summarize the methods that transportation providers use to calculate the value and benefit of different types of transportation projects to determine the best use of public funds for reducing congestion, improving commute times, or moving freight. It may be found, in certain situations, that passenger rail may provide a better value for commuters providing a more reliable commute time than adding additional roadway capacity at a lower total cost. Improvements to the freight rail system may help to reduce truck traffic, thereby improving safety, reducing wear and tear on roadway network, reducing maintenance costs and providing cost savings to transportation departments. Information will be gathered through a literature review and a survey of state departments of transportation (DOTs). The study will also identify gaps in knowledge and needed research. In addition to the cost benefit analysis, the study will summarize ways to measure and compare the environmental impacts between highway and rail projects. Calculations that could be used to evaluate environmental impacts, such as emissions reductions, greenhouse gas emissions, noise impacts, and environmental justice concerns will also be included.


  • English


  • Status: Proposed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 20-05, Topic 48-15

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO)

    444 North Capitol Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Zwhalen, Tanya

  • Start Date: 20160511
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 40824

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01598982
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 20-05, Topic 48-15
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: May 11 2016 1:00AM