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Economic Analysis

Image of cars on a highway

The U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Economic Analysis Division serves transportation leaders who make policy, programmatic, regulatory, and procurement decisions. We conduct economic and social analysis on a range of transportation issues to serve project sponsors.

Our team applies its expertise in three broad areas:

  • Regulatory and financial decision support: Analyze data to support decisions on level of funding or allocation of costs for grants, research, or procurement negotiation. In a regulatory context, support decisions on stringency.
  • Evaluation and impact assessment: Evaluate programs, technologies, operating practices, markets, and impacts on society and local economies, and craft action-oriented recommendations that support program performance management.
  • Travel behavior modeling and forecasting: Inform decisions about infrastructure investments and regulations by estimating or forecasting how travel behavior, vehicle fleet mix—including innovative technologies—and safety are likely to change under different scenarios.


  • Benefit-cost analysis: Assess whether a choice makes sense from a societal perspective by weighing safety, travel time, and environmental impacts against costs of an infrastructure or operating investment or regulation.
  • Econometric modeling: Use statistical techniques to develop forecasts that quantify how explanatory factors—such as government policies—relate to real-world outcomes.
  • Survey research: Use structured questionnaires to gather quantitative information and short-answer qualitative information on travel preferences and behavior, technology purchase and use, and customer satisfaction.
  • Interviews and focus groups: Conduct and analyze semi-structured interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders to better understand complex topics and probe deeply into how and why social processes occur.

Featured Reports

Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 2019