For the Fairbanks/North Star Borough (Alaska), EDR Group completed a transit impact study considering both the economic and wider societal impacts of transit services in the Fairbanks area and the greater North Star borough. The results of this study help the Fairbanks/North Star Borough communicate the value of the Metropolitan Area Commuter System bus and Van Tran demand response services to their community and stakeholders. Using data and resources from within an agency and public sources, systems of many sizes, including smaller regions like Fairbanks/North Star Borough, can assess the transportation efficiency impacts of transit and its role in the economy.
The study includes (1) assessing the size and economic role of the transit market (2) the impact of transportation efficiencies achieved by transit services and (3) an assessment of ways in which the presence of transit affects community quality of life and the overall economic development process. American Community Survey data is combined with agency figures to understand transit commuters’ role in the economy. Efficiency assessments are based on examining the next best transportation alternative for transit riders if service was no longer available. The study includes site visits to Fairbanks businesses and development sites, analysis of ridership and transit expenditures as well as projection of travel characteristics and transportation costs. Results are shown in terms of a narrative about the role of transit enhanced by quantitative findings regarding the wage income, jobs, and gross domestic product directly and indirectly supported by transit activities and transit trips.