The Economic Impacts of Transportation Investment

Forecasting the Benefits of Contra Costa County's 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan

Transportation networks are an integral support system to economies. A well-functioning transportation network efficiently connects people to jobs and businesses to services, while enabling the flow of goods into and out of a region. The design of a transportation system influences land use, quality of life, and productivity of communities. Transportation benefits can be measured using many metrics including:

• Employment

• Direct Transportation Network Benefits

• Economic Development Benefits

• Consumer Spending

• Goods Movement


Contra Costa County’s population and employment are projected to grow over the 35-year Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP), increasing pressure on the transportation system. Home to 1.1 million people, Contra Costa County is expected to grow by 32% by 2055. Contra Costa County currently has 401,000 jobs, and countywide employment is expected to grow by 41% by 2055.

The county’s transportation system performance shows the need for TEP investments to improve the efficiency of the transportation system and the lives of residents who rely on the system daily. Delay from countywide congestion has increased 103% since 2010, now totaling 5.4 million annual vehicle hours of delay (VHD), the equivalent of 4.72 hours per capita. Out of the most congested corridors in the Bay Area, four out of 10 are in Contra Costa County. The average county resident spends the equivalent of 13 days commuting every year, 2.6 more days than the average California resident.

This study analyzes the economic impacts of the Contra Costa Transportation Authority’s 2020 Transportation Expenditure Plan (TEP). A countywide economic profile, an analysis of jobs-housing imbalance, and trends in regional commutes and mode share explain the need for focused investment in Contra Costa’s transportation network. The performance of the current transportation system reveals how strategic investments can serve travel needs and preferences throughout the county. Finally, modeling the economic impact of the investments in the TEP highlights the overarching impact the transportation investments will have on the county’s economy.