Technical Description of the Chicago CGE Model

This document describes the basic construct of the Chicago Computable General Equilibrium (C-CGE) model that was developed by a collaborative multi-year effort between the authors. It is not the objective of this document to describe minute details of the model that involves over 900 equations coded in GAMS. Rather, this document should be used as an introductory material for the framework of a CGE model that is tailored toward transportation planning applications, which the C-CGE is. It should also be noted that the C-CGE is in the constant state of evolution. For example, the base data for the derivation of the Social Accounting Matrix (SAM) was updated from 1997 to 2001 recently. We plan to produce a follow-up to this report to document those updates in not so distant future.

Technically, a CGE is nothing more than a set of equations describing the economic activities embedded in a SAM. Producers, consumers, governments, and trading partners are engaged in various market activities (i.e., factor and commodity markets) following well established economic principles. Among others, supply and demand are in equilibrium, e.g., markets clear, which is achieved through price adjustments.

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Technical Description CCGE_UTC_WorkingPaperKazuya




Development and Testing of Model Planning Process for Freight Oriented Development (FOD)

In order to respond to the expected growth in the International container traffic, the Chicago region, with its role as the most important freight hub for the entire country, badly needs to add more intermodal terminal capacity. A collaborative study by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), a non-profit organization based in Chicago, and the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA) at the University of Illinois, Chicago was initiated to take advantage of the remarkable opportunities that exist in the Chicago region to bring together the need for additional intermodal facilities with the development needs of older communities. This article describes the three-step process that can be used to evaluate, compare and identify potential sites for “freight oriented development (FOD)”. FOD is a form of development that concentrates manufacturing and distribution businesses at a location where they benefit from efficient access to multiple modes of freight transportation, the presence of complementary businesses, and an available industrial workforce. The process was applied to the Cook County, which include the city of Chicago, and resulted in on-going economic development projects anchored by freight facilities in two older communities.

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Development and Testing of Model Planning Process for Freight Report

Where is the 2000-2005 Growth in Metropolitan Chicago: Collar or Fringe Counties?

The population growth in the Chicago area continues to extend to areas beyond the traditional six counties. While this has been evident and predictable for decades, the actual 2000-2005 increases in net population in the Fringe Counties are modest in comparison with what is occurring within the traditional growth communities in the original six-county region.

In this regard the county that needs most recognition is Will County. The dramatic increases in population and overall development are many times greater than in Kendall County even though the latter county was noted as having a very high percentage increase—fourth highest in the nation. In absolute numbers the 140,000 net increase in Will County was more than five times greater than the 25,000 net increase in Kendall County.

Conversely Cook County was singled out as having a high decrease in population. The more legitimate interpretation would consider percentage change. On this scale Cook County does not rank in the top ten of the largest counties in population decline. Even with the loss since 2000, Cook County’s population is approximately 200,000 greater than in 1990.

The Chicago area is continuing to expand outward and the recent data covering the 2000-2005 period seem to reinforce the trends that have been established decades ago. With these trends many of the core areas remain strong and viable as the number of empty nesters contribute to a modest decline in population though generally not to a loss in the number of households. At the same time exceptionally affordable land on the fringe is drawing residents outward and growth is more noticeable now in the Fringe Counties than in the past. While noticeable, it will take at least a decade or more before the Fringe Counties will show the growth we currently see in the Outer Collar Counties. This will be especially true if the metropolitan growth rate continues to decline. In the first half of the current decade the metropolitan growth rate was less than one third of the rate in the previous full decade (1990-2000).

The data examined in this report also reinforce the conclusion drawn in our earlier research, which stated that urban sprawl is more a function of prosperity than expansion of the highway network. Few expressways have been added in the last several decades but population continues to push outward. Interstate 355 is a new expressway but it services largely north-south suburban traffic. Transportation facilities such as the extension of the Metra Union Pacific West Line to Elburn in the middle of Kane County, however, are examples of how the transportation system is expanded to meet growing demand. People move outward and the transportation system follows. All this supports the observation that the more things change (population growth) the more they stay the same (trends).

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Where is the 2000_2005 Growth in Chicago


Are Sprawl and Obesity Related?

This analysis relies on self-reported driver’s license data that may not be current are only updated on an irregular basis) but may be validly used in this study if  there is not appreciable spatial bias. For example, if residents of neighborhoods in which body-mass indexes (BMI) are high are more likely or less likely to report inaccurate information, then there may be a bias in the conclusions.

It is very likely that the majority of individuals weigh more than the reported figure on their driver’s license and if everyone or most individuals weigh a fixed percentage more then we do not have a problem. This would especially be true  since we have aggregated the data by ZIP codes and individual variations within the ZIP-code area are masked by the average figure used here. We use the driver’s license data for two very obvious reasons. First, we have an enormous sample, seven million records. Second, we have addresses (though not their names). These two reasons tend to outweigh the unknown bias, if any, in the weight information.

The data analyzed in this report finds that BMI, as a measure of obesity, appears to be highly related to a number of neighborhood-level characteristics. Individuals living in high-income areas with high levels of college educated residents and high home values are more likely to have low BMI’s than residents of other neighborhoods. Conversely, areas characterized by a high proportion of minority populations, with low socioeconomic status are likely to have high BMI levels.

There is scant evidence that obesity is directly associated with urban sprawl. Indeed he regression model suggests that the inner ring of suburbs have that lowest BMI scores. Further, there is little difference between most city of Chicago neighborhoods and the most distant suburban areas, in the traditional six-county area as well as the more extended 10-county area.

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Are Sprawl and Obesity Related jan2006

Emerging Commuting and Urban Development Trends in the New Millennium: Six-County Chicago Area, 1970 – 2008

Previous UIC studies have shown that by 2000 the average household size stopped declining in the Chicago area. For the first time in over 150 years the number of persons per household in this region is now beginning to show a reversal in this trend. When household size declines as it had for 150 years, a constant population resulted in more households and frequently also in more workers and more traffic. The proportion of the population that commutes is also reversing a long-time trend, (increasing for the first time in at least forty years), with implications for traffic congestion. While these are important demographic trends, they tend to have opposite effects on traffic congestion. For a constant population, large households suggests fewer commuters while, an increasing proportion of the population that is working seem to overcome this factor. In the end, travel times to work have increased but not as fast as in previous years. In the short run, with the economic weakness in the job market since 2008, this may be a moot point.

The major conclusion is that the region continues to change. Long-term trends are being reversed. What has continued is that an increasing portion of the workers commute to sites outside their home county and therefore commute times are increasing. This has two interpretations. First, work sites are decentralizing and workers need to commute greater distances on roadways that are more congested. Second and quite different is the employer perspective. Our economy is becoming more specialized and since workers are increasingly mobile, nearly the entire region is the labor shed for an employer. This means that a specific job might be filled by anyone in the metropolitan area. This should provide the employer with a good match between the job requirements and the skills of the worker, making it an employers‘ market. The rise in intercounty commuting suggests this is happening. The growing demand for inexpensive housing on the fringe of the metropolitan area is also contributing to longer work trips but more importantly suburban job growth is ameliorating the rise in travel times as growth in jobs and workers is in relatively good balance.

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Partnerships for the Job Access and Reverse Commute Program: A Multi-Site Study of the Institutional and Coordination Processes Behind Employment Transportation for Low-Income Workers

A hallmark of the Job Access and Reverse Commute (JARC) program is its requirement to involve a wide range of parties involved in planning or providing transportation services to transportation-disadvantaged individuals. These planning partners represent agencies that have a common goal of improving lives through improved transportation. This has benefited not only the JARC program but has created interaction among people and agencies that in the past had little direct relationships.

The objective of this report is to describe three studies on partnership formation, evolution, effectiveness and challenges to sustainability, with the goal of assisting practitioners develop the Human Services Transportation Plan. The three studies were on partnerships and coordination activity for the Job Access and Reverse Commute program, but broader implications can be drawn for the newer HSTP process and other transportation program activities targeted to  disadvantaged populations.

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Partnerships for JARC Program Study

Economic Benefits of Employment Transportation Services. Final Report to Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation and Community Transportation Association of America.

As operating costs of transit escalate at faster rates than operating revenue, and as federal operating assistance (in current dollars) towards transit declines, the financial burden placed on state, regional, and local government units is becoming heavy (Hartman, et al., 1994). Therefore, public transit today operates in an environment sensitive to strategic planning and performance-measurement. But transit programs, once implemented, are rarely evaluated for outcomes on a systematic basis. Osborne and Gaebler (1992) indicate that service agencies (e.g, transit agencies, hospitals) focus on inputs instead of outcomes. “Traditional bureaucratic governments fund schools based on how many children enroll; welfare based on how many poor people are eligible; police departments based on manpower needed to fight crime.” Governments, Osborne and Gaebler assert, “pay little attention to outcomes—results”.

Over time, however, transportation services have increasingly had to deal with strategic management and to develop meaningful strategic indicators. As such, program performance assessment has become increasingly important. The Government Accounting Office (GAO, 1998) notes that government program performance assessments are of two kinds: performance measurement (which is the ongoing monitoring and reporting of program accomplishments, particularly towards pre-established goals) and program evaluation (which are studies to assess how well a program is working). While the concepts appear to be similar, there is a difference in focus in the sense that program evaluations examine a broader range of information on program performance and its context than is feasible to monitor on an ongoing basis. Uses are also different; whereas performance measurement, because of its ongoing nature, can serve as an early warning system to management and as a vehicle for improving accountability to the public, a program evaluation’s typically more in-depth examination of program performance and context allows for an overall assessment of whether the program works and identification of adjustments to improve its results.

There is no unique perspective regarding transit performance. The same service might be doing well on measures relevant to some perspectives while not so well on other measures. In fact, a Transit Cooperative Research Program (2003) report by Kittelson and Associates notes that what is important and vital in the performance and delivery of transit service depends significantly upon perspective. They identify four different perspectives—customer, community, agency, and vehicle/driver. In general, the literature suggests that performance measurement and evaluation in transit may be used for the following: as aids for assessing management performance expectations of the transit system in relation to community objectives; as mechanisms for assessing management performance and diagnosing problems, such as disproportionate cost in relation to service; as methods to allocate resources among competing transit properties, on the basis of relative cost effectiveness or other criteria; and as management and monitoring tools to facilitate continued and improved performance by management and personnel, perhaps accompanied by a program of technical assistance.

The purpose of this study is to focus on program evaluation and to assess the economic benefits of employment transportation services funded by the JARC program and matched, at 50 percent, by a variety of other public, private and non-profit sources of funding. The evaluation framework adopted in this report integrates the economic benefit approach that is typified by evaluation of social programs, welfare to work and employment training programs with that, which is used typically in the evaluation of transportation projects. While the fundamental research designs and concepts used in both approaches are similar, there are differences in the degree to which emphasis is laid on different data and concepts to be measured in the process of evaluation. The Job Access and Reverse Commute program is ultimately a social program targeted to poverty alleviation using transit as the mechanism. Yet, because it is also a transportation program, elements of traditional transportation-oriented CBA used in estimating costs and benefits should be used to realistically quantify economically and socially relevant outcomes.

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Economic Benefits Employment Transportation Report – Pages 1 thru 149

Economic Benefits Employment Transportation Services Report – Pages 150 through 269

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Economic Benefits of Employment Transportation Services: Summary of Final Report to Federal Transit Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation and Community Transportation Association of America.

This report examines the benefits that accrue from employment transportation services implemented as a result of changes in welfare policy, namely the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) of 1996. Employment transportation services were developed to provide access to jobs for people who otherwise have few transportation options, either because public transportation is not available to their work locations (or for employment-supportive trips such as daycare, schools, job-training or for job search activities) or because they cannot afford to own and operate a private vehicle.

Employment transportation services provide valuable service to users. The services are being appropriately targeted and the individuals who use them are greatly dependent on them. Although program costs are high, benefits to the users are high as well and are likely to persist over time. Quite possibly, down the line, major societal costs would be avoided as a result of the boost to worklife afforded by these services. Our empirical analysis has shown that it is not likely that many users will stay in the transit system over the long haul but that the transient boost that these services provide is likely to make a significant difference in their lives and their work.

Non-users and society in general benefit due to potential alternative uses of tax dollars and avoidance of societal costs of private automobiles, which users might otherwise have taken. The negative impacts on local labor markets are likely to cancel out some of these non-user and societal benefits. However, since these negative impacts are dependent on local unemployment rates, the non-user benefits from these services are ultimately likely to depend on economic cycles.

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Economic Benefits of Employment_report2008

ADA Special Services: Price Elasticity for the Provision of Free Service in the State of Illinois

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) created a requirement for complementary paratransit service for all public transit agencies that provide fixed-route service. Complementary paratransit service is intended to complement the fixed route service and serve individuals who, because of their disabilities, are unable to use the fixed-route transit system. The service must operate on the same days and times of service within 3/4 mile of the fixed route and fares cannot exceed twice the base adult fare. In fulfilling their ADA obligations, transit operators have a responsibility to consider current and probable future demand for complementary paratransit service and to plan and budget to meet all of the expected demand (TCRP Report 119, 2007). A number of methods have been proposed to estimate such paratransit demand and will be discussed in this review along with their assumptions.

The purpose of this study is to estimate the fare elasticity from the reduction in ADA Special Services Paratransit fare from the present levels (suburban Cook and DuPage $3.00, Lake, Kane, McHenry and Will $2.50, city of Chicago $2.25, and various downstate fares – see Appendix Table B3) to a free fare.

Instituting a free fare for ADA complementary paratransit service in the state Illinois will increase the demand and the associated costs of providing the specialized service. The purpose of this study is to estimate the increased demand by modeling fare elasticity and using previous industry experience. Using the UIC/UTC model resulted in an estimated average increase in annual ADA trips between 71% and 95% in the Chicago area. The range in estimated annual ADA trips increase at a 90% confidence level would be between 37% and 135%. The ranges vary in Chicago, suburbs and downstate based on their fare elasticity. Given previous industry free ride experiments, the latent demand exhibited by the large number of disabled persons living within ¾ mile of a fixed route and the expected diversion of wheelchair riders currently using fixed routes, we believe it is not unreasonable to expect increases in ridership approaching 100%.


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IDOT Complementary Paratransit Final Report


Lake County Paratransit Survey Final Report

The Urban Transportation Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago assisted the Lake County Coordinated Transportation Services Committee by drafting a paratransit provider survey that was administered in 2006 and 2007. The survey results are being provided to Pace and the RTA for the development of a comprehensive paratransit plan for Lake County.

Below are some of the highlights of the survey results:

  • Survey Instrument. 139 surveys were sent out, including surveys to all Lake County township and municipal governments and townships in McHenry and Cook County adjacent to Lake County. Surveys were also sent to senior centers, social service, transportation and not-for-profit agencies.
  • Survey Responses. 34 surveys were returned. Of these 22 agencies provide transportation services to their clients and target populations. Respondents included 17 local governments (townships, municipalities and park districts/senior centers), and 5 notfor-profit organizations (either charitable organizations, or those specializing in serving the needs of the disabled).
  • Target Populations. Primary target populations are seniors and the disabled, but youth, and low-income populations are also included.
  • Need for Improved Services. 20 of the 34 responding agencies reported that a lack of transportation has a negative impact on their target population’s ability to participate in agency programs and services.
  • Transportation Services. Most agencies that provide services provide multiple services, including Pace dial-a-ride services, taxi voucher programs, volunteer driver programs and many directly operated or privately contracted demand response and fixed-route services.
  • Increased Demand. 11 of 14 agencies report an increase in the demand for transportation services over the last five years.

The survey results also provided information and data that identify issues facing Lake County and opportunities for improved coordination.

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Lake County Paratransit Survey