Assessing the Economic Effects of Context Sensitive Main Street Highways in Small Cities

Status:  Complete
Report Date:  10/11/2022


Complete Streets is a national initiative to design and maintain roadways to be safe and accessible for all users, including drivers, pedestrians, cyclists and those with mobility challenges. MnDOT implements this policy in reconstruction projects on all of its highways, including those running through smaller cities. Since these roadways often serve as commercial main streets, construction projects may impact the economic vitality of the city. While improving mobility and access to the transportation system can be beneficial in the long run, the economic impacts during construction can be challenging for businesses. New research has given MnDOT a greater understanding of the impacts, strategies to work with local officials and tools to evaluate the economic impacts of road construction in small cities. Researchers developed case studies in nine small cities with Complete Streets road projects. Interviewing MnDOT staff, city officials, business representatives and others in each location, they gathered a range of perceptions regarding challenges and benefits during and following construction. Coupled with evaluation metrics MnDOT can use to understand and communicate economic impacts, research results will help to ensure small cities are gaining the maximum benefit from road construction on their main streets.

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