Appraising Small Schemes at a Local Level: A BCR Approach

Appraising Small Schemes at a Local Level: A BCR Approach


C Kelly, J Nellthorp, ITS University of Leeds, UK; S Gogna, Atkins, UK


This paper presents an approach to determining a Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) for small scale transport improvements, describes the methodology developed to monetise the key benefits from such schemes and then applies this to a number of case studies.


Benefit Cost Ratios (BCR) have long been an indicator of value for money (VfM) used in the resource allocation of funding for large scale transport projects across the EU. For example in the UK transport investment projects costing greater than £5 million are required to undertake a full Cost Benefit Analysis and produce a BCR. No formal methodology has been developed for ?small? schemes that do not fit into this category.

This paper describes research that was funded by the Department for Transport in the UK as part of work to improve the evidence base on the VfM of small transport improvement schemes. The ?small? schemes include road safety (e.g. 20 mph zones), accessibility (e.g. low floor buses), cycling and walking and traffic management schemes. The emphasis was on the feasibility of developing a methodology for monetising the key benefits from these schemes and then applying this methodology to known case studies to determine the BCRs that would be achieved. This was more straightforward for certain types of schemes than others. For example, in the UK schemes that target road safety and have the common goal of reducing accidents, tend to have a good data set available and robust methodology for monetising the key benefits based on the value of prevention of an accident. In contrast the assessment of the VfM of schemes that have the key goal of increasing accessibility has been patchy and an innovative methodology focusing on calculating user benefits has been developed to realise the accessibility benefits. Key issues that arose in determining the BCR methodology for all scheme types are discussed including data availability, appropriate appraisal periods, maintenance schedules and how to account for any key benefits that could not be monetised. The paper presents the methodologies developed and applies this to a number of real case studies, which are now included on a website for local authorities to use. Finally, it assesses how fit for purpose this method is for capturing the VfM of small schemes.


Association for European Transport