Document Type


Publication Date



Transportation -- United States -- Planning, Transportation -- Planning -- Political aspects, Transportation and state -- Decision making -- Analysis


This report aims to help policymakers and staff at all levels of government make transportation investments that serve the public better.

Amazingly, we simply don’t know how effective government spending is at achieving the outcomes the public expects and has been promised! Clearly, taxpayer dollars buy roads, bus service, airports, ferry service, and other transportation facilities and services. But it is unclear how well such investments help get people where they want to go, create jobs, improve public health, support community development, and provide other benefits. In other words, it is uncertain how cost-effectively the means (transportation investments) achieve the ends (public benefits)—how much “bang for the buck” transportation investments provide.

States, metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and local governments have opportunities to incorporate outcomes into all phases of transportation decision-making. This report recommends that governments make transportation investment decisions using a four-phase outcomes-based cycle: planning, governance & finance, programming, and reporting.

In more detail, this report offers eight sets of recommendations.


This is a report, NITC-875, from the NITC program of TREC at Portland State University, and can be found online at:

The Project Brief can be found here:

The presentations associated with this report are included here as supplemental files.



Persistent Identifier