Re-focusing Transport and Land Use Planning Investment Appraisal Approaches to Make Them More Effective
D Halden, Derek Halden Consultancy, UK
The prevalence of secondary and cross sector benefits makes transport a particularly complex sector to value. This paper demonstrates how disaggregating the components of the value can make appraisal simpler, more accurate and more influential.
There is often a disconnect between the utility of transport systems, measured in terms of transport economic efficiency, and the utility to people, public agencies and businesses measured in terms of attractive opportunities to access places and of services.
The general principles of valuation in this paper follow the national UK standards set out in the Treasury "Green Book". The practical framework put forward follows recent UK government commitments to develop a clearer separation of transport market, business, policy and social appraisals to complement traditional economic appraisal techniques.
The approach has been demonstrated in the Highlands of Scotland where traditional economic appraisal techniques have been difficult to reconcile with wider policy. For example, supporting a local grocer in a remote village that might otherwise close can save residents travel time and money, as can an improved transport service to an alternative grocer, but using standard UK values of time to represent the value of these choices has little relationship with local perceptions of the utility of each approach. This means that transport analysis is often ignored by local politicians.
The market, business, policy and social appraisals align the appraisal findings more clearly with the prioritisation of potential resources to make the improvement. These appraisals also deliver more transparent findings within which any flaws in the representation of travel behaviour, market responses, spatial organisation, and impacts of marketing and information, can be understood and calibrated against the understanding of local stakeholders.
Through the appraisal of five, community based, transport interventions the approach shows that the core elements of value are derived from transport which facilitates better health, community cohesion, employability, education, training, participation in leisure and sport, and other factors.
The research also shows that despite the apparent complexity of the new approach, the required data is readily available to measure value, and to allow comparisons with other competing public spending priorities in transport, health, education, social work, employability, community development and environmental enhancement.
The very different results and priorities generated by this approach, when compared with traditional transport economic appraisal, demonstrate that society is complex and made up of many different sectors and communities, which each contribute value in different ways. The paper discusses the importance of these findings as society evolves and social values change. The potential for wider adoption of the pilot approach is being reviewed, raising challenging questions about the foundations of some aspects of current transport and land use planning practice.
Association for European Transport