How Can We Demonstrate the ?value? of Transport Models ?

How Can We Demonstrate the ?value? of Transport Models ?


D Anderson, Transport Scotland, UK; K Lumsden, S Canning, MVA Consultancy, UK


This paper will outline Transport Scotland¡¦s innovative approach to valuing the LATIS service and associated transport and land-use models and considers the approach beyond LATIS, asking whether investment in transport modelling is ¡¥worth it¡¦.


The majority of developed economies have been operating in a recessionary environment for the past two years. While this slump has demonstrated the typical symptoms of a recession (ie unemployment, low inflation, a weakening currency etc), it has also been notable for the record levels of government debt accumulated, principally to support the banking sector but also to prop up consumer demand. The key task now facing government is the reduction of the public sector deficit, whilst ensuring the protection of politically important front line services like health, education and social security. It is almost inevitable that public sector spending on transport will decrease in real terms in the short to medium-term. Set against this background, it is essential to ensure that spending is focused on schemes, policies and interventions that are the most advantageous and demonstrate best value for public money.

There are well-defined appraisal methodologies in place for capital investment and operational spending, where practitioners use models and quantitative techniques to assess key performance indicators (including cost-benefit ratios) of interventions. However, at a more detailed level, the value of models which provide advice in underpinning investment should also be questioned ¡V in short, are models ¡¥worth it¡¦? While the value created by models may not be immediately apparent, it does not mean that we should not ask the question. This paper demonstrates the means by which Transport Scotland assess the benefits of their Land-Use and Transport Integration in Scotland (LATIS) service.

Land-Use and Transport Integration in Scotland (LATIS) is a service offered by Transport Scotland and their term consultants that can assist in devising policy in a number of different areas such as transport, planning, the environment, demographics, health, education and the utilities.
LATIS offers a wide range of support and technical advice and consists of the following key elements:
?Þ Modelling - use and support for the transport and land-use model, the Transport Model for Scotland (TMfS) and the Transport Economic and Land-Use Model of Scotland (TELMoS);
?Þ Project Management ¡V application of the LATIS service on behalf of Transport Scotland;
?Þ User Engagement ¡V continual liaison with key stakeholders and interested parties to ensure the continual evolution and applicability of the LATIS commission; and
?Þ Data Collection - the collection of transport, travel, planning policy and other user specified data through the use of the Data Collection Contract.

Transport Scotland has made a substantial investment in LATIS over a sustained period and, for the past three years, has published an Annual Report on the performance of LATIS and the return on investment in the service. The Annual Report provides a qualitative assessment of how all aspects of the commission perform against the Scottish Government¡¦s overarching objectives and the twin commission aims of technical excellence and customer engagement.

Most significantly here, however, the Annual Report attempts to qualitatively and quantitatively value the modelling element of LATIS. The approach to valuing the models includes consideration of comparison against alternative approaches and the value of interventions which have been assessed. This paper further considers the use of a model value process beyond that of LATIS, drawing on available evidence of value from other transport models.

The paper will demonstrate the importance of valuing the resource input into transport modelling and Transport Scotland¡¦s innovative approach in this area. It will also attempt to demonstrate the significant value that we have obtained through investing in LATIS, demonstrating that models are indeed, worth it.


Association for European Transport