Prepared with funding from Office of Planning Assistance Urban Mass Transportation Administration
Transportation -- Planning -- Oregon -- Portland, Street-railroads -- Oregon -- Portland -- Economic aspects, Infrastructure (Economics)
Investment decisions for large transportation projects are complex, multifaceted phenomena. Generally requiring many years to bring to fruition, such decisions are often reduced at crucial junctures to raw political deals or technical data analysis on limited items. Throughout the range of alternatives considered, analyses completed and policy-making sessions which contribute to such investments, the imagery of a rational, sequential and wholistic decision making process and substance dominates. Recent debate concerning both the desirability of certain transit investments and the extent to which inappropriate intrusion into the decision making province of state and local government have occurred have highlighted at least some of the less rational and sequential aspects of transportation investments. This study seeks not to unravel the most appropriate federal grant process or the best structure for state and local investment decisions. Rather, it seeks to accomplish the following:
• To illustrate and analyze the facets of institutional and individual behavior in the process of transportation investments;
• To identify roles, procedures, processes, forces and factors which influence the character of multiorganizational decision making; • To assess the character of multiorganizational decision making;
• To identify those factors which most centrally affect the outcome of such decisions.
The vehicle for accomplishing this task is a case study of a Light Rail Transit (LRT) investment in Portland, Oregon. Known as the Banfield project or Transitway, this investment provides an excellent, comprehensive example of the complexity of transportation decision making. While no single case study can fully portray the range of issues inherent in such investments, this project does exhibit many of the important dimensions. It involves both highway and transit components, capital financing from both transit and highway sources, federal, state and local agency involvement, major changes in policy, technical and political actors and a significant time span.
Edner, Sheldon and Arrington, G. B. Jr., "Urban Decision Making for Transportation Investments: Portland's Light Rail Transit System" (1985). Center for Urban Studies Publications and Reports. 67.