The Role and Value
of Transportation in America’s Economy

Four Case Studies About How Economic Growth is Creating New Transportation Needs

NCHRP Project 20-24 89(B)
Role and Value of Transportation for State DOTs

Historically, investment in transportation by states has generated a tremendous nationwide economic payoff. Building the Interstate System, for example, created a firm foundation for decades of economic growth. Today, however, changing economic opportunities are driving a new set of transportation needs. Transportation practitioners in every state face the challenge of finding compelling ways to engage their stakeholders on the economic importance of making the next generation of investments that will sustain America’s prosperity.

This NCHRP-funded study was originally scoped as a series of narrative case studies – detailed written reports – each describing the role and value of transportation in a selected industry sector.

In seeking to deliver on the study’s promise of sharing insights that reach beyond a narrow, technically minded audience, however, the project reimagines ‘case studies’ as concise and engaging stories built around people and data. The case studies provide ideas for a new communication palette that agencies can use as they pursue revenue raising initiatives, long range transportation plans, or mega-project public involvement campaigns, where practitioners need novel ways to communicate with broad audiences about the new generation of investments that will sustain America’s prosperity.

Rather than producing only a traditional print or PDF report, this NCHRP study comprises a website with short stories, told not only in a printable ‘case study’ factsheet format, but also told with web-video and infographics. The stories are designed to show how transportation is intimately linked with some of today’s most interesting and compelling economic transformations in technology, global markets and demographics, and how these connections are creating new kinds of transportation needs across America.

Every state or region will have its own stories about the new generation of transportation needs as our nation’s economy transforms. While the stories presented here will make sense in many regions of the country, their primary purpose is to provide inspiration for transportation leaders, engineers and planners seeking fresh and compelling ways to talk about the importance of transportation investment to America’s future prosperity, and ultimately to encourage individual agencies to create their own versions.

Scroll down to learn more. Use the stories here as inspiration to identify and create messages about economic change and transportation that fit what is happening in your state or region.