10 for 10: Transportation and Infrastructure

This year, to celebrate our 10th anniversary, we’re going to highlight ten big projects from each practice area on a regular basis, and we’re starting strong with transportation and infrastructure. Community and events may connect people emotionally, but infrastructure connects us physically. It shapes how and when we travel, how long it takes, and how often we will do it. Here’s a look at our 10 for 10: Transportation and Infrastructure.

  1. How do we optimize a city for transit? Where does the balance lie between personal and public transit, and what role does congestion play in it? In this report, completed in 2019, ESI examines congestion in Center City, Philadelphia. It assesses the economic impact congestion has on the jobs, time, and dollars of Philadelphia residents and workers. And though the pandemic has changed the way we interact with public transit, the feedback loop identified in this report still exists: If public transit wait and ride times increase, riders who are able are more likely to turn to personal vehicles, increasing congestion on our roads. This is a huge barrier that transit agencies often have to overcome. If their product is not seen as a net positive over personal vehicles, they will lose ridership, making it more difficult to gain funding and run routes with frequencies to serve their base.
    Read the report here.
  2. What is the value in creating long, separate pathways for cyclists and pedestrians, outside the confines of streets designed for motor vehicles but still within and through major metropolitan areas? The East Coast Greenway is doing just that, creating a continuous pedestrian and cyclist path from Maine to Florida. ESI, in partnership with NV5 was commissioned by the East Coast Greenway Alliance to quantify the benefits of completing the Greenway in the Delaware River Watershed. Projects like this one lie at the economic intersection of tourism, transit, equity, and the environment. When complete, the Greenway will be a continuous 3,000 mile path through 15 states and 450 communities. ESI found, based on completed portions of the path in the Delaware Valley, every mile of trail will see an average of $6.3 million in annual spending, goods, and services.
    Read the full report here.
  3. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) helps people across the region get to their destination. How does the economic impact of SEPTA compare to the rest of the Commonwealth? In 2018, ESI retained to find out. This study found that the five counties SEPTA serves generate 41% of Pennsylvania’s economic activity on only 5% of its land.
    Read the full report here.
  4. Transportation and infrastructure grants play a large role in any government’s ability to improve and maintain the systems that get people from point A to point B. The Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity RAISE grant program, formerly known as BUILD and TIGER, is one of the many types of grants to which ESI has helped its clients apply. Some projects that have secured funding with the help of ESI’s grant services and Benefit Cost Analyses are: SEPTA’s 30th St MFL Station renovation, the Bronx Greenway in New York City, and the Wilmington Riverfront Transportation Infrastructure Project.
    Learn more about applying for grants here. 
  5. Nightlife is an important part of any metropolitan area’s economy. But what is the economic impact of nightlife on transit? In 2017, ESI estimated that 32%, or 101 million of New York City’s for-hire rides could be attributed to nightlife activity.
    Learn more about the economic impact of New York City’s Nightlife here.
  6. When most people think of transit, they think about trains, busses, cars, and planes. But for cities and regions sitting near large bodies of water, ferries can be an integral part of the transportation network. In 2013, ESI was commissioned by New York City Economic Development Corporation to study the impact of ferries on the city. This report calculated the economic impact of the East River Ferry, and examined potential opportunities for expansion.
    Read the full report here.
  7. The next step in private vehicle technology is automation. From 2018 to 2020, KPMG commissioned ESI to create an annual autonomous vehicle index. These studies examined a country or region’s readiness to adopt driverless vehicles.
    Read the 2020 index here.
  8. In 2019, ESI was commissioned to update its 2017 economic and fiscal impact report for Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport. Calculating the direct and indirect impacts of an airport system means looking not just at aviation and airport operations related revenues, but also the impact on regional businesses and residents. PHL serves a metro area of more than 6 million, and calculating its impact on the region means government officials can quantify its value and the value of maintaining it.
    Read the full report here.
  9. Boosting ridership on public transit creates rippling benefits throughout a greater metro area. In an effort to do just that, ESI worked with SEPTA to create an institutional pass program- a mechanism by which large employers and institutions  in Philadelphia and the surrounding area can purchase discounted monthly passes for its employees. The program is now being expanded to smaller businesses, because public transit is only strengthened by its riders.
    Read more about ESI’s work with Key Advantage here.
  10. In 2018, ESI was hired by the Port Authority of Allegheny County (now Pittsburgh Regional Transit) to assess its economic impact. ESI found that the aggregate annual economic impact in Allegheny County was $877 million, in the southwest region of Pennsylvania $916 million, and in the Commonwealth totaled $929 million annually. ESI also calculated the tax revenue impact from operating and capital activity, as well as economic competitiveness, equitable growth, investment, and property value impacts.
    Read the full report here.


Grace Hanoian | [email protected]

Grace Hanoian is a Business Development and Marketing Associate at Econsult Solutions, where she supports the marketing and business development team by assisting with proposals, events, and social media. Prior to joining ESI, Grace was a marketing coordinator, working to support product launches and coordinate trade show appearances. She also served two terms in AmeriCorps, one as a State and National member at Rural Action in Appalachian Ohio, and the other as a Marketing and Communications VISTA for Habitat for Humanity of Snohomish County in Washington State.

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