London's Crossrail Project Appraisal Framework

London's Crossrail Project Appraisal Framework


K Austin, A Last and B Upfold, MVA Ltd; J Willis and R Meeks, Transport for London, UK



Crossrail is likely to be the biggest urban public transport project in the UK for some decades. It involves tunnelling beneath Central London to link the railways that currently serve eastern and western main line termini.

In delivering an additional twenty-four trains each way or fifty thousand passengers per hour across the main east-west axis of London, Crossrail will have an enormous impact on London and the surroundingarea. It will enable the City of London and Docklands to operate as a single business entity, with connections to London's main international gateways at Heathrow in the west and Stratford (with CTRL, the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) in the east. It also brings the opportunity of significant development/regeneration possibilities - to the east into the Thames Gateway and to the north of Docklands into inner east London. The scheme has the potential to provide significant improvements in the social and economic conditions of London and to maintain its business competitiveness in the face of intense competition from other countries.

However, a project of such a scale will be extremely costly, as well as having complex and controversial environmental and social impacts. A wide range of parties will need to be committed to it at the highest level, while local impacts, especially the disruption associated with construction, are bound to be unpopular. Moreover, it will be essential to show that the whole country will benefit from investment of a substantial proportion of national transport capital spending in London.

Crossrail is not a new concept, but the Government has been persuaded that after many years of lying dormant, the project should progress as quickly as possible. A new company has been formed and a major project team established, jointly sponsored by the SRA and TfL. This is working towards the target of placing feasible, worthwhile and affordable proposals to the Mayor and Government before the end of 2002. A key aspect of the project development process will be the creation of an appraisal framework that can demonstrate transparently, fairly and objectively who will benefit and disbenefit from the project, and with what scale of impact. The paper will describe the methodology being developed to satisfy these objectives. Particular issues include how to integrate wider benefits with measures of cost-effectiveness, measuring broad economic impacts of, for example, greater business competitiveness, and adequately representing long term effects on activity and travel patterns, and regeneration. A key part to the development of the AppraisalFramework has been a consultation process designed to capture the views of the many different parties who will be affected by the project, and will influence the ease (or difficulty) with which it is implemented. These include the Treasury, DTLR, Strategic Rail Authority, Transport for London, the private sector, local authorities and many interest groups. A Preliminary Appraisal Framework has already been established, to assist with sifting a long list of options. It is intended that by early summer afull Appraisal Framework will have been agreed and incorporated into the project development process.


Association for European Transport