Ex Post Analyses and Tools: What Should You Expect?

Ex Post Analyses and Tools: What Should You Expect?


David Meunier, Université Paris-Est, LVMT, UMR_T9403, Pauline Wortelboer-van Donselaar, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Stephen Fitzroy, Economic Development Research Group, Inc.


This paper presents three analytic approaches and tools developed to generate ex-post knowledge from implemented projects and illustrates how these ex post analyses have been applied using examples from several countries.


Although transport investments projects are quite costly and, in turn, are expected to generate economic benefits, there is a general lack of ex-post observation of their actual impacts.

The aim of this paper is to present some methods of analyses and tools that have been developed in order to generate ex-post knowledge from implemented projects and to illustrate these findings with actual examples in several parts of the world. We will focus on knowledge improvement issues, setting aside the transparency and governance issues inherent to any kind of ex-post endeavour, notwithstanding their importance for the general public.

More precisely, we will focus on three approaches to structuring analyses and tools, presenting and discussing them together with their intended use. The three general types selected are: ex-post study at a project level; ex-post analyses at an aggregate level (collection of projects); a data base of ex-post observations on a set of projects designed for helping ex-ante project assessment.

They will be illustrated by:
Project level: a case from the Netherlands
Aggregate level: the French ex-post studies sample (40 big projects built over the last 30 years)
Data base: the EconWorks database (105 case studies of highway transport projects from the USA).

We will discuss the cases developed using each approach, how they are being applied in current planning, some possibilities of additional applications, and the links between ex-post and ex-ante study design and implementation. Discussion, based on recent experience in each of the three countries, will address how ex-post analyses may contribute to improving the accuracy and overall quality of ex ante analysis and project selection when designed with a global « life-cycle like » view.

As regards the uses of these approaches, we will show that besides straightforward comparison of project outcomes to their initial objectives and expectations, these approaches can also be used to:
Inform the accuracy of ex-ante assessment methods
Indicate how project design and development can be better informed and could take account of risks and uncertainties
Provide valuable feedback for ex-ante project study (and communication)  regarding past project types, characteristics, direct impacts and wider territorial impacts.
Assess the projects' worth in economic terms.

The paper will show how these ex-post analyses and tools may be useful for decision makers, project designers, ex-ante study, and more specifically both practitioners and academics. It will also make clear that there is more than one standard for ex-post evaluation.


Association for European Transport