The 2007 Great Recession is widely considered the worst economic downturn in recent United States History. In Indiana, the unemployment rate reached 10.6%, and took nearly seven years to return to pre-recession levels. However, employment data from this period shows that the change in total employment at the county level ranged from -20% to +5%, indicating that while many counties suffered from high unemployment, other counties experienced gains in total employment. Various research efforts, including this project, have been undertaken to understand the local characteristics that influence the differing degrees to which regional/city economies were able to resist or cope with the effects of the recession. In the literature, this ability is referred to as regional economic resilience (RER).

This research project’s primary objective is to develop a framework and tool that could be used by INDOT’s Asset Planning & Management Division and Indiana metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to evaluate the role of transportation accessibility in building RER of Indiana’s regions to economic shocks. The following tasks were undertaken: the development of a resilience index to inform stakeholders of the comparative RERs in Indiana; the estimation of an econometric model to evaluate the association between Indiana counties’ regional characteristics and the resilience index; the development of a framework in which results of previous tasks can be incorporated into transportation decision-making at the sketch level by MPOs, regional development organizations, and other similar agencies; and design of a tool to allow planners to examine the potential changes to RER due to policies or other exogenous shocks.

Report Number



economic resilience, expert opinion, structural equation model, sketch-planning, policy

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, Indiana

Date of this Version