Office of the Chief Economist
Initiates and develops Secretarial policies relating to the use of economic analysis in evaluating infrastructure investments, rulemakings, Departmental programs, and other initiatives; the use of economic analysis in enhancing the efficient operation of transportation networks; and other applications of economic analysis in transportation policymaking.
The Office of the Chief Economist examines transportation policy issues from an economic perspective, conducts analyses of the economic effects of transportation policies and investments, and designs more economically efficient policies. These analyses focus on the economic impact of transportation investments, strategies for using transportation infrastructure more efficiently, ways of increasing the economic efficiency of federal transportation programs, new ways of financing transportation infrastructure, and analyzing the costs and benefits of transportation rulemakings, in collaboration with the Office of Regulation and Legislation (C-50) in the Office of the General Counsel.
What We Do
- Conduct Economic Analyses
- Develop and Review Economic Analysis Relating to Regulations
- Develop Guidance for Transportation Benefit-Cost Analysis
- Conduct Economic Research on Transportation Topics
- Provides leadership and training to economists throughout the Department.
- Represents the Department in meetings with economists from the White House (in collaboration with the Office of Regulation and Legislation, with respect to rulemakings), other Cabinet Departments, and the national and international economics community.
- Works to improve the quality of economic data and analytical methodologies available for transportation policymaking, in coordination with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics and the Department's Operating Administrations.
- Reviews the economic efficiency of Departmental programs designed to assist transportation capital markets.
- Takes the lead on Departmental policy involving transportation competition and antitrust issues.
- Develops designs for more economically efficient transportation programs and policies, including improving linkages between transportation and land use policy and better understanding the travel demand impacts of transportation investments.
- Develops and coordinates research on economic competitiveness throughout the Department, in conjunction with the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology.
- Reviews proposed and final regulatory actions, notices, and related economic analyses of the Department and its Operating Administrations.
- Develops guidance and provides outreach on benefit-cost analysis for applicants to DOT discretionary grant programs.
- Organizes, oversees, and provides training to internal reviewers of benefit-cost analyses prepared for DOT discretionary grant programs.
- Develops guidance, issued by the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy, on the value of travel time savings for use in regulatory and other economic analyses prepared by the Department and its Operating Administrations.
- Develops guidance, issued jointly by the Assistant Secretary for Transportation Policy and the General Counsel, on the value of statistical life for use in regulatory and other economic analyses prepared by the Department and its Operating Administrations.
- Serves as the Department's principal resource and advisor on policy issues involving domestic preferences and Made in America laws in transportation, including coordinating policy within the Department, reviewing and supporting the development of waivers as appropriate, and representing the Department in meetings with the Made in America Office and partner agencies.
- Conducts research and analysis on freight transportation and the economy, in coordination with the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Multimodal Freight Infrastructure and Policy.
- Benefit-Cost Analysis Guidance
- Revised Departmental Guidance on Valuation of Travel Time in Economic Analysis
- Revised Departmental Guidance on Valuation of a Statistical Life in Economic Analysis
- 2015 Threshold of Significant Regulatory Actions Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
Tools and Templates