CRP/CAS Wins Funding for Study of Airport Economic Impacts

City and Regional Planning Assistant Professors Amber Woodburn and Zhenhua Chen, along with Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering Associate Professor Seth Young, Director of The Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies, have won $37,000 in funding to support an economic impact analysis of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority (CRAA) facilities. Airports operated under the CRAA include John Glenn International, Rickenbacker International and Bolton Field.

The prime contractor, Economic Development Research Group (EDR Group), invited Ohio State to their team to support the bid proposal and contribute as a subcontractor for the work. The firm is dedicated to advancing the state-of-the-art in economic evaluation and analysis to support planning and policy in the areas of transportation, energy resources, urban development and economic growth strategy.

“The scope of the work will include looking at airports as gateways through which visitors travel; specifically, how much an average visitor through one of CRAA’s airports spends on items such as hotels and food while in the area,” commented Woodburn. “Another type of economic impact will be the jobs that are directly and indirectly provided by airports through warehousing and logistics, for example. The team will also collect and model data related to the impact of tax revenues and CRAA real estate.”

Four Ohio State students will be hired through the summer and will be tasked primarily with going to the airports to interview and collect spending data from visitors and survey information from airport tenants and aviation-dependent business owners. “City and regional planners are great sources to conduct this type of work, primarily due to their understanding of different methods of evaluation, whether its cost-benefit analysis, environmental assessment, or land use and community impact. They are really good at recognizing the bigger picture of how a transportation facility fits into the broader urban environment,” reflected Woodburn on the opportunity for student involvement in the CRAA economic analysis impact project.