A Policy Assessment Methodology for Major Transport Projects



A Policy Assessment Methodology for Major Transport Projects

Authors

BROWN M, Halerow Fox, UK, EXEL J van, Netherlands Economic Institute, The Netherlands and KURTE J, University of Koln, Germany

Description

Major transport projects (be they infrastructure, pricing or regulatory) are bound, inextricably, to the policy environment in which they are developed and assessed. Recognition of the policy context of such projects is an important aspect of effective de

Abstract

Major transport projects (be they infrastructure, pricing or regulatory) are bound, inextricably, to the policy environment in which they are developed and assessed. Recognition of the policy context of such projects is an important aspect of effective design and, most importantly, essential to the successful implementation and delivery of the finished product.

Several technical appraisal methods already exist to assist in the design and assessment of transport projects (eg: economic evaluation and environmental assessment). Whilst a clear need and role exists for such techniques, they tend not to reflect directly the complex, sometimes conflicting, policies which generate the need for projects and shape the environment in which they are implemented.

An assessment method which did establish a direct link between a project, its impacts and the surrounding policy environment could provide valuable, additional information on the project's design and desirability. Furthermore, by helping to tune projects to their policy environment, such a method could improve the likelihood that good projects will be implemented.

This paper reports a recent European Commission research project in which a policy assessment method was developed and tested. The project Tenassess, comprised Tasks 32 of the European Commission's Strategic Transport section of the Fourth Framework Research Programme.

The Task 32 project team was led by Halcrow Fox in conjunction with ICCR, NEI, University of Cologne, PLANCO, DROMOS, EXACTO, INRETS and FACTUM.

The Tenassess project also includes Task 36, which is still ongoing, under the direction of ICCR.

The objective of the Task 32 component of the Tenassess project was to produce a preliminary assessment methodology related to decisions on transport infrastructure investments and service (pricing and regulation) evaluations; more specifically, to develop a methodology that could be utilised in the assessment of the Trans-European Networks and other major infrastructure projects related to the Common Transport Policy (CTP).

The general approach to this study has been to develop a version of a Goals Achievement Matrix, termed the Policy Assessment Model (PAM). This is a multi- criteria appraisal tool, which seeks to measure the extent to which a given transportation project achieves, or constrains, explicit policy objectives.

The benefits of such an approach are considerable:

* a PAM provides a dual focus upon policies and the impacts of the projects in question;

* the theory under-pinning a PAM reflects the value system of the policies as opposed to externally imposed value systems such as those of economic and financial appraisal methods;

* the PAM is a highly versatile tool, able to evaluate policies from a wide range of sectors;

* the PAM is flexible, able to reflect changes in policy or the relative importance of policies;

* the PAM is a transparent and, therefore, democratic technique, in which the entire basis for the assessment is explicit and open to inspection and audit.

It should also be noted that the PAM is not intended to act as a replacement for traditional project appraisal techniques such as CBA and Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Rather, it is intended as a complementary method, designed to focus projects towards their policy environment and to improve the likelihood of their eventual implementation.

Publisher

Association for European Transport