The New Ex-post Evaluation Methods for Large Projects in France
J N Chapulut, J P Taroux, Conseil General des Ponts et Chausses, FR; E Mange, SETRA, FR
Ex-post appraisal studies have been a matter of great interest for a long time in France.
A law in 1982 and the decree in 1984, which put it into effect, advocate that an assessment of the economical and social results of large projects must be established by the contracting authority between three and five years after the setting up of the project. Urban, railway and highway projects are concerned only if their cost is higher than 83,1 M?.
This assessment should be established by comparing the real effects of the project with the forecasted ones. These are described in the ex-ante social and economical studies. The difference between reality and forecasts should be measured and analysed in order to evaluate the relevance of the decision taken previously. According to the decree, all the parameters observed in the ex-ante studies should be analysed ex-post.
In practice, lots of material and methodological difficulties appear so that just a few projects were assessed on time and that a delay of almost three years was deplored in 2004.
Nevertheless, considerable interest kept on developing on ex-post appraisal during this period : in a context of scarcity of public funds, it became essential to check that the money was used efficiently. Moreover, this assessment seemed to be a good way of improving the ex-ante analysis methods.
Facing with these issues, it was decided to define a new methodology in order to revival the ex-post evaluation process.
The aim of the paper will be to explain this context, to detail the innovative approach and its first results.
The following subjects will be developed :
1) The new methodology
a. The previous appraisal scheme in France, its weaknesses and the lessons learned by the first experiences.
b. The new approach and its focus on six points: costs, traffic, safety, level of service, environmental commitments meeting, cost benefit analysis. The pros and cons of the methodology will be presented and great emphasis will be placed on its simplicity and its efficiency.
c. The implementation of the innovative methodology.
2) The first results of this ex-post appraisal process and what it taught.
a. The main challenges faced with during each stage of the process (the data collection, the passing on the French department of transport, the publication of the assessment and its communication to the public).
b. The exhibition of results concerning urban, railway and highway projects and comparisons between them.
Association for European Transport