Date of Graduation

12-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MSCE)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Civil Engineering

Advisor

Sarah Hernandez

Committee Member

Suman Mitra

Second Committee Member

Mervin Jebaraj

Third Committee Member

Micah Hale

Keywords

Economic Impacts, Hedonic Price Model, Highway Bypass, Highway Widening, Property Values, Urban Planning

Abstract

Community members often worry that highway projects may have negative impacts on their local economies. This is typical for highway bypass and widening projects in small cities (population less than 50,000). It is a challenge for planners to balance public concerns of economic decline with desired project outcomes of mobility and safety. Much of this challenge stems from a lack of information on post-project outcomes related to economic and safety impacts of new construction projects. Thus, there is a need for an evidence-based framework to help planners with the decision-making process and better inform the community on potential outcomes. This study performs retrospective analysis of the economic impacts of highway bypass and widening projects in small towns as a means to provide data-based evidence.

Impact assessment is carried out using both a proprietary economic impact assessment tool (IMPLAN) and statistical analysis (regression methods). Based on the IMPLAN and regression analyses, this work develops simplified methodologies to estimate the impacts of highway bypass and widening projects using fewer variables, non-proprietary software, and more accessible methods. Lastly, this study applies a hedonic price model to estimate the effects on property value resulting from the construction of a highway bypass in small cities to fill a critical research gap by introducing spatial models.

The results from this study can be used in public involvement sessions to better inform community members on potential impacts of planned projects. The simplified model presented in this thesis expands the existing impact assessment methodology with its ability to estimate impacts using fewer variables. The spatial hedonic model presented in this study can be used to guide transportation investment decisions made by state transportation agencies. This will assist planners to make an evidence-based decision for proposed highway improvement projects.

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