Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

A Virtuous Circle

New research by David M. Levinson and Emilia Istrate from the Brookings Institute looks at capturing the value generated by improved transportation access in order to pay for more improvements. Key to this concept is the "virtuous circle."

As the authors explain, infrastructure creates access, access creates value, value can be captured to finance infrastructure and therefore create further access, and thus value.

But not all infrastructure is created equal. The researchers explain that the feedback loop generated by new highways leads to increased demand but that added highway demand increases congestion, which ends up lowering overall accessiblity. For transit, on the other hand, the new demand leads to increased capacity, which enhances accessiblity. And as the drawing of this virtuous circle illustrates, the increased transit capacity can lower traffic congestion and thus increase the "accessibility" for highways as well.

Virtuous Circle graphic

"Accessibility induces development, and with value capture in place, development leads to new infrastructure, which further increases accessibility and use," the researchers explain.

The full report is available in the Resource Center.  For more about Value Capture, see our Featured Topic