The purpose of this research is to enable North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) to incorporate data into the Prioritization Process that has been historically challenging to integrate, including geo-located socio-economic (social, health, economic, etc.) datasets. The research team will develop a methodology for analyzing these types of data for use as criteria in the prioritization process. This method will include the innovative raster suitability analysis (RSA) approach, which NCDOT can use to establish impact factors (data-driven socio-economic indices) that can be applied to augment the scoring process for non-highway projects, among other types. This RSA approach will include combining multiple layers of quantitative data, standardizing it into a scoring system, and aggregating the data to produce a raster layer containing values representing the suitability of each area or project in a geospatial context.
The results of this approach will provide NCDOT will a simplified method for assessing the potential socio-economic impacts associated with a given transportation process, and will normalize these impacts to enable the comparison of impacts between projects. To help ensure appropriate application and implementation, the research team will coordinate with NCDOT to gather expert input from NCDOT staff, the Prioritization Workgroup, and other key stakeholders to inform the research process and the development of socio-economic impact factors.