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Estimating the Impact of Highways on Average Travel Velocities and Market Size

  • Michael L. Lahr

    (Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research)

  • Rodrigo Duran

    (Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research)

  • Anupa Varughese

    (Rutgers University, Center for Urban Policy Research)

In this paper we examine the link between additions to highway infrastructure and development of a market area. We do so by first relating highway travel speeds to added highway-mileage and then relating travel speed to the size of the market area. This approach bypasses issues in the public finance literature that derive from estimates of highway infrastructure spending. Also, rather than examining the effects of improved transportation efficiency on enhancements of productivity, this research examines their effect on enhancements in demand for local production. Our thought, which is borne out in the literature, is that industry-level productivity in a metropolitan area may be improved only marginally by lower delivered prices of inputs due to very localized improvements in the freight transportation system. On the other hand, the market for locally produced goods and services will expand somewhat uniformly across industries due to generally improved traffic movements in a metropolitan area. By applying this approach to data from the Texas Transportation Institute, we find a significant but small positive effect of highways and arterials (as opposed to other roadways) on changes in metropolitan urbanized area and metropolitan population change. This suggests that demand for local production may well be enhanced by expansions of highway and principal arterials infrastructure.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Urban/Regional with number 0403009.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: 25 Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpur:0403009
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 21
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  1. Morrison, Catherine J & Schwartz, Amy Ellen, 1996. "State Infrastructure and Productive Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(5), pages 1095-1111, December.
  2. Douglas Holtz-Eakin & Amy Ellen Schwartz, 1995. "Spatial Productivity Spillovers from Public Infrastructure: Evidence from State Highways," NBER Working Papers 5004, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Evans, Paul & Karras, Georgios, 1994. "Are Government Activities Productive? Evidence from a Panel of U.S. States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(1), pages 1-11, February.
  4. Boarnet, Marlon G. & Haughwout, Andrew F., 2000. "Do Highways Matter? Evidence and Policy Implications of Highways' Influence on Metropolitan Development," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt5rn9w6bz, University of California Transportation Center.
  5. Gramlich, Edward M, 1994. "Infrastructure Investment: A Review Essay," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 32(3), pages 1176-96, September.
  6. Boarnet, Marlon G., 1995. "Highways and Economic Productivity: Interpreting Recent Evidence," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt4g79984s, University of California Transportation Center.
  7. Nadiri, M. Ishaq & Mamuneas, Theofanis P., 1991. "The Effects of Public Infrastructure and R&D Capital on the Cost Structure and Performance of U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 91-57, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Duffy-Deno, Kevin T. & Eberts, Randall W., 1991. "Public infrastructure and regional economic development: A simultaneous equations approach," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 329-343, November.
  9. Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J & Porter, Robert H, 1996. "The Effect of Public Capital in State-Level Production Functions Reconsidered," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(1), pages 177-80, February.
  10. Boarnet, Marlon G., 1995. "Transportation Infrastructure, Economic Productivity, and Geographic Scale: Aggregate Growth versus Spatial Redistribution," University of California Transportation Center, Working Papers qt6sj276z4, University of California Transportation Center.
  11. Aschauer, David Alan, 1989. "Is public expenditure productive?," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 177-200, March.
  12. John G. Fernald, 1999. "Roads to Prosperity? Assessing the Link between Public Capital and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 619-638, June.
  13. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas, 1993. "State-specific estimates of state and local government capital," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 185-209, April.
  14. Douglas R. Dalenberg & Mark D. Partridge & Dan S. Rickman, 1998. "Public Infrastructure: Pork or Jobs Creator?," Public Finance Review, , vol. 26(1), pages 24-52, January.
  15. Alicia H. Munnell, 1992. "Policy Watch: Infrastructure Investment and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 189-198, Fall.
  16. Crihfield, John B. & Panggabean, Martin P. H., 1995. "Is public infrastructure productive? A metropolitan perspective using new capital stock estimates," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(5), pages 607-630, October.
  17. Randall W. Eberts, 1986. "Estimating the contribution of urban public infrastructure to regional growth," Working Paper 8610, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
  18. Lynde, Catherine & Richmond, James, 1992. "The Role of Public Capital in Production," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 37-44, February.
  19. Garcia-Mila, Teresa & McGuire, Therese J., 1992. "The contribution of publicly provided inputs to states' economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 229-241, June.
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