FXM has developed and applied pioneering economic impact assessment and demographic forecasting techniques in its work on major highway, transit, seaport, ferry, and rail development projects throughout the U.S. The firm provides population, employment, industry, and land use forecasts for travel demand modeling, and assesses the effects of transportation service and investments on business sales, job opportunities, taxes, and financial resources.
Senior staff engage in all aspects of the technical, public and agency process in developing, screening, and assessing project alternatives. FXM has successfully completed the socioeconomic impact components for dozens of NEPA- and state-required environmental documents, and has provided expert witness affidavits at U.S. District and Federal Appeals Courts that helped result in successful outcomes for its clients. We are regular speakers and expert panel contributors at international, national, and regional conferences on transportation planning and economics, and have written peer-reviewed papers published by the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Board.
South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan
Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
FXM Associates served as lead economist on this study examining economic development, Smart Growth, and transit-oriented development (TOD) potential that could be influenced by commuter rail service between the Boston region and 31 communities in southeastern Massachusetts. FXM prepared an assessment of current and projected employment, income, population, housing, tax, and industry characteristics within each community and the region as overall, as well as long term market-driven real estate development potential with and without commuter rail. For this project, FXM developed an innovative Revenue Model to show the extent to which residential and commercial real estate development within Transit Oriented Development (TOD) districts and new long term employment statewide leveraged by commuter rail might be used to help finance project costs, including real estate value capture and new state sales and income taxes from productivity gains attributable to the proposed commuter rail service.) The Executive Summary and Full Report available at www.southcoastrail.com.
This project received the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association Best Comprehensive Planning Project Award for 2009 and the Congress of New Urbanism’s National Best Project Award (2010).
New London State Pier Master Plan
Connecticut Department of Transportation
FXM Associates prepared an assessment of market demand for marine cargo, cruise ships, fishing vessels, and other commercial vessel uses at New London State Pier, and evaluated potential growth opportunities with and without changes to water and landside infrastructure and support facilities. Working with an inter-disciplinary consultant team, FXM analyzed historical and projected trends in break bulk, bulk, and containerized cargoes at competitive North Atlantic ports (including cargoes carried to and from the port by highway and rail) and examined the potential for the port to capture additional cargoes under current and prospective new state policies and contracting procedures. Augmenting the team’s assessment of site conditions, warehouse capacity and truck/rail access, FXM provided an analysis of the direct, indirect and induced effects of potential State Pier operations on business sales, employment and income within the state economy. The study also provided data and analyses needed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation to issue a new RFP for State Pier facility management. (2010)
I-93/I-95 Woburn Interchange Reconstruction EIS
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
FXM Associates is part of the consultant team led by Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, Engineers selected to prepare the federal Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and state Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for reconstruction of the I-93/I-95 Interchange in Woburn. This is the highest traffic volume interchange in Massachusetts and provides access to hundreds of companies and thousands of jobs in Woburn, Reading, and Stoneham, and its traffic conditions affect many more companies and jobs throughout the northeast region of the state. FXM is responsible for the land use, social, and economic impact assessment components of the EIS/EIR, including evaluation of local and regional growth trends as well as planned and proposed development projects. A principal FXM role is to examine how potential travel time improvements associated with alternatives for a reconstructed interchange will affect local and regional business sales, jobs, household income, as well as state and municipal taxes. FXM is also responsible for assessing the full extent of potential secondary and cumulative growth impacts, including net new growth attributable to accessibility improvements as well as redistributive effects throughout the project area and region. (2012 ongoing)
I-93 Tri-town Interchange EIS
Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Executive Office of Housing & Economic Development
A new interchange is proposed at the confluence of major development sites in Andover, Tewksbury, and Wilmington. FXM's role in this project is to assess the extent to which the improved access of interchange alternatives will affect this development potential; how new development on this site may influence regional development, jobs, and business sales; how specific types of potential new development may affect business performance in historic local town centers; how improved accessibility (travel times) will affect regional goods movement and labor force productivity; and to help design appropriate mitigation measure to offset potential downside effects in local business districts and traffic and on local roadways. A major concern of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the extent to which the project may influence secondary growth, and FXM is leading the team effort in identifying the geographic extent of possible secondary residential and commercial development and quantifying potential land use changes. (2009-2013)
I-93/95 Canton/Westwood Interchange EA/EIR
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
FXM prepared the assessment of social, economic, and land use impacts attributable to a new interchange at Route 95/93(Route 128) in Canton and Westwood, MA. Primary concerns included the effect of the proposed $1.5 billion Westwood Station mixed-use development project as well as impacts to commuters, freight, and consumers connected to the over 9,000 jobs and $1 billion in business sales within a 5-minute drive of the interchange. Within a 15-minute drive of this vital interchange there are over 27,000 businesses with 380,000 employees and $43 billion in sales annually. FXM conducted extensive interviews with area businesses as part of its assessment of how travel time savings of the build alternatives may affect business productivity. FXM also assessed the total direct, indirect and induced effects of construction expenditures of business output, jobs, household income, and federal, state, and local taxes. The EA was approved by FHWA in 2012.
Peace Bridge Expansion Project EIS
Buffalo (NY) and Fort Erie (Ontario, Canada) Public Bridge Authority
FXM Associates assessed the national, regional, and local economic effects associated with an expanded bridge capacity, which now carries approximately $120 billion annually in international trade, more than the value of all US trade with Mexico and one-third of the total trade between the US and Canada. Delays at the bridge are now costing shippers and producers over $100 million annually in lost productivity. FXM applied a proprietary model (developed by Frank Mahady and Mike Lahr and published (2009) in the National Academy of Sciences, Transportation Research Record) to assess, by economic sector and detailed SIC industry, the direct, indirect, and induced effects of travel time savings on business sales, jobs, household income, federal/state/local taxes in the U.S. and Canada.
Bourne-Sagamore Rotary Improvements EA/EIR
Massachusetts Department of Transportation
FXM completed an assessment of social and economic effects of alternatives to replace the Route 3 rotary before the Sagamore Bridge to Cape Cod. FXM staff did extensive interviews with local businesses to establish their sales and customer profiles for both resident and passersby markets, interviewed businesses outside the project area that had undergone similar changes in roadway configuration and design, completed a literature search of potentially comparable case studies, then worked with project engineers and property owners to develop effective local access and improved visibility, as well as accommodation of through movements. FXM’s report analyzed and quantified the effects of travel time savings on market penetration by local and area-wide businesses, as well as regional goods movement, and assessed effects on resident mobility and property values.
The EA/EIR was approved and construction of this projected completed in 2010. Subsequent analyses have validated FXM’s projections for increased sales to local businesses as a consequence of the project’s separation of access to the surrounding resident market from that of through traffic to and from Cape Cod.
Buffalo/Erie County (NY) Southtowns Connector MIS & EIS
New York State Department of Transportation
FXM initially completed a feasibility study followed by a major study to determine the economic development implications of a proposed $1.5 billion highway with access arterials to waterfront and other prime development parcels between downtown Buffalo and the New York State Thruway and Hamburg, New York. FXM’s work included evaluation of recent and historical trends in the regional economy; extensive interviews with business and industry leaders, community officials, developers, academic and institutional experts; specific examination of potential effects within the region of the U.S./Canada Free Trade Agreement; detailed field investigations of sites for development or reuse throughout the study area; development of household and employment projections within 54 subarea traffic analysis zones under passive, moderate, and aggressive growth scenarios through year 2020; an evaluation of economic and fiscal impacts for four selected alternatives; and an analysis of potential funding options, including local special assessment districts and other innovative mechanisms.
Ultimately, the larger project was scaled down as a consequence of local community opposition and FXM prepared the economic consequences evaluation for an EIS and $150 million project approved by FHWA.
Freight Ferry Terminal Market Analysis and Business Plan
Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction and New Bedford Harbor Development Commission
As part of the New Bedford Freight Ferry Terminal project, FXM Associates led the consultant team effort in assessing market demand and operating requirements for a freight ferry and roll on-roll off (ro-ro) cargo facility at the State Pier in New Bedford. The project included a detailed analysis of cargoes transported to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, including freight originations, overland shipping times and costs, waterborne shipping times and costs, and terminal operating requirements. In addition, FXM assessed non-island destined cargo potential and developed a business plan for marketing, staffing, and terminal operations to capture coastwise and international ro-ro, container and break bulk freight potential. The freight ferry terminal facility was constructed and successfully operated in a demonstration project with the Wood Hole, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket Steamship Authority. Over the past several years it has been used to service passenger ferry operations to Martha’s Vineyard.
Chesapeake Bay Ferry Feasibility Study
Northern Neck Regional Planning Commission and Virginia Department of Transportation
For a proposed ferry crossing of Chesapeake Bay between Virginia’s Northern Neck and Eastern Shore communities, FXM interviewed major employers and industries to assess potential demand for freight movements, evaluated vessel types and operating costs, and assessed the likely effects on business sales and employment of increased accessibility for freight, auto, bus, and passenger movements. FXM’s evaluation determined that the primary economic effects would accrue in travel time savings for the movement of goods by major employers, and that the ferry service proposed would likely generate sufficient revenues to cover annual operating costs.
Route 531 Corridor Study, Rochester-Brockport, New York
Genessee Regional Transportation Council, New York State Department of Transportation
FXM Associates examined market and development trends, and current economic conditions along a 10-mile corridor in suburban Rochester to determine the possible influence of proposed transportation improvements, including widening of existing roadways, intersection changes, and new highway alignments. Research included extensive interviews with local brokers, company officials, developers, and local economic development and planning professionals, as well as analyses of secondary source data, to determine industrial, commercial, and residential development potential at major existing nodes, large vacant parcels, and for infill within existing downtowns and adjacent properties. FXM examined distinctive and unique characteristics of existing commercial centers and industrial and distributive companies within the corridor to assess their current and prospective future niche within the broader regional economy. FXM specifically analyzed, using a proprietary economic model the firm has developed, the effects of changes in travel times on the costs of goods movement and job creation potential within local companies. Potential tax revenues and costs of development to each affected community were also estimated.
Route I-295 Interchange and Waterfront Connector Road, Portland, Maine
Maine Department of Transportation, City of Portland
FXM assessed development potential at two major waterfront sites near downtown Portland, with and without completion of proposed transportation projects that would improve access and accessibility to each site. Research included an analysis of regional and local economic and market trends to forecast development in industrial, commercial, residential, and specialty hospitality, institutional, and recreational uses, and a site-specific examination to determine the competitive advantages and disadvantages of the particular major underdeveloped locations.
In addition to analyzing all relevant secondary source data, including historical and projected population, employment, and building permit data, FXM conducted numerous interviews with local real estate and development professionals, employers in growth industries regionally, city officials, local community and neighborhood interests, adjacent businesses, and the managers of potentially competitive or complimentary development properties. FXM’s evaluation concluded that, with appropriate investments to improve physical access to the sites and connections to the regional highway system, one site could support a phased development of up to 1 million square feet of mixed office, retail, and residential uses. The other site would be appropriate for a more modest development of light manufacturing and transportation/distributive uses, as well as passive recreational and open space. FXM prepared phasing strategies and preliminary pro forma financial analyses for each development, and assessed the effects of such development on fiscal revenues and costs to the City of Portland.
The new interchange and waterfront connector road were successfully completed (2008) and additional development induced at key sites as forecast by FXM.