To provide a more in-depth analysis of potential roadway projects, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) desired a method of evaluating projects according to their economic potential without using potentially costly computer models or excessive data collection. Brigham Young University (BYU) was retained to research and recommend criteria for the economic development criteria in the project-prioritization process. A literature review was first undertaken to better understand the transportation-economic development relationship. Using the literature review, combined with the information from the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget, the Governor's Office of Economic Development, and a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), criteria were established to evaluate the economic potential of a roadway project. The criteria were finalized using a Policy Delphi method that included the Research Team and TAC. The four aggregate criteria and one bonus criterion recommended are: 1) population and education; 2) existing infrastructure; 3) economic attractiveness; 4) tourism; and 5) the bonus: economic choke-points, which allows UDOT regions to specify a prioritized list of projects that could help increase the economic development potential of an area if those projects are built. An evaluation framework was also developed for the economic development criteria. Any project that passes the Tier I analysis is recommended to be subjected to the economic analysis of the Tier II process. The researchers recommend that once a list of passing Tier I projects is received, the list should be sent out to any participating in the expert feedback portion of the economic attractiveness scoring as well as to the UDOT regions and districts for choke-point prioritization analysis. All of the databases will be updated to provide the most up-to-date scoring possible. When all of the scores have been assigned, the projects will then be listed by highest to lowest scores. The list will then be compiled by UDOT who will present the information to the Transportation Commission in a manner that will best assist in the decision-making process. The research created a scoring evaluation for each recommended criterion. Each criterion also received a weighting. The scoring and the framework are recommended to UDOT as the economic analysis of the Tier II evaluation. The criteria are recommended to be automated in a geographic information systems (GIS) database to aid in the scoring process.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Civil and Environmental Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





transportation economics, project prioritization, economic development, economic criteria, Policy Delphi, project selection