The Dubious Status of Formal Project Evaluation Procedures
For the last several decades developed countries have adopted and utilized formal transportation project evaluation schemes whose objective is to “provide an assessment of whether a proposal is worthwhile, and clearly communicate conclusions and recommendations” (UK, Green Book 2011). Such project evaluation procedures set the rationale for government intervention, define a project’s objectives and alternatives, and examine the direct transportation-economic costs and benefits for each option. Within this framework, Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) is the key analytical component because it is meant to appraise the net economic value of each alternative’s direct transportation benefits, given the required resources, in a way that treats all projects equally and unambiguously (Vickerman 2000). The end result of this process should be prioritization of the suggested options, based on welfare-economic foundations. Other evaluation approaches, such as the UK’s New Approach To Appraisal (NATA), require application of supplementary techniques, in addition to CBA, for the purpose of examining and weighing indirect costs and benefits—economic development, community cohesion and equity, to name just a few.
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