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A Tool for Assessing the Economic Impacts of Spending on Public Transit

(Center Identification Number: 77941)

In this project, an Excel-based template tool was developed for transit agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders of public transit to estimate the economic impacts of spending on public transit. Features include the following:

• Uses input-output multipliers from the Regional Input-Output Modeling System (RIMS II) (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis) to capture the direct, indirect, and induced effects of spending on public transit in terms of gross output (sales), value added (regional gross domestic product, GDP), labor earnings, and jobs (person-years of full- and part-time employment) for any study area consisting of one or more spatially-contiguous counties.

• Explicitly considers whether spending originated from funds inside or outside the study area, whether spending was made inside or outside the study area, whether funds originated from borrowing, whether spending was for land acquisition, and the effect of full employment on estimated job impacts.

• Is designed for estimating the economic impacts of spending on transit primarily on existing service or on service expansion in an area that already has transit service; is applicable, with caution, to new transit services for areas that do not already have transit service.

• Use of the tool for any study area requires several type II final-demand multipliers from RIMS II and the following data specific to the study area: total spending for operations and maintenance, capital spending by project category, sources of funds for the spending, and geographic destinations of the spending; most of the required spending data for existing services can be derived from the National Transit Database.

• Presents the results separately for capital projects, operations and maintenance, and total spending; also presents results in terms of total impacts and unit impacts per dollar spent.

• Provides estimates of net economic impacts that may be considered as being created by the spending on transit and would not exist without the public transit service and related spending, and estimates of gross economic impacts that may be considered as being supported by the spending on transit.

This report discusses methodological factors, describes the tool and its use, and presents applications of the tool to Central Florida counties with urban public transit service. Download the final report and the assessment tool.  For more information, contact Xuehao Chu, Ph.D. at xchu@cutr.usf.edu.


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  • Florida Department of Transportation
  • US Department of Transportation

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