Tuesday, January 28, 2014

TRB's TED And TCAPP For Transportation And Economic Planning

I sort through my social media feeds for interesting events to attend.  I'll have to miss the I-TED 2014 International Transportation Economic Development Conference due to a schedule conflict but reading about it got me thinking about the connections between infrastructure and economic growth.

I track the Transportation Research Board's publications.  I can't use their technical reports but the board publishes an extensive array of economic research useful to the finance community.  The TRB's Transportation and Economic Development Committee is of particular interest.  I noticed that this TED Committee publishes its research needs online and anyone can sign up for its newsletter.

I sort through feeds like this to find the handful of actionable logistics information that the finance community needs to see how infrastructure drives investment.  One cool tool I discovered today is the Transportation for Communities - Advancing Projects through Partnerships (TCAPP) program.  TRB developed a handy-dandy executive guide for multiagency planning using TCAPP.  The Federal Highway Administration already uses TCAPP.  I believe that finance professionals who specialize in the transportation sector can use this tool as background research for project costs and ROIs.

I would be intrigued to see how municipal bond underwriters use collaborative tools to estimate the viability of infrastructure bond issues.  That may be asking too much of finance types.  My experience with a few investment bankers is that they are too intellectually lazy to do their own project work but will quickly steal someone else's analysis if they think it will enhance their sales pitch.  I prefer to do my own homework, and that's why I prowl the Web for tools like TCAPP.