The benefits and processes for evaluating economic outcomes of ‘standard’ transport interventions are well recognised – infrastructure improvements, intersection treatments, public transport schemes, safety improvements etc.
Operations activities such as network optimisation, ITS system operation, traffic management, events, traveller information, ‘soft’ measures etc, are generally accepted to be beneficial. Compared with other interventions, these activities generally require significantly lower investment and therefore industry practices and views are that any benefits are likely to return high value-for-money outcomes.
Historically there has been limited requirement in New Zealand to carry out in-depth economic assessments of operations activities. The methodologies and approaches for carrying out benefit appraisal of operations activities are not well established.
In line with the NZ Transport Agency better business case approach, operations activities need to be considered as part of the potential lifecycle of transport solutions and evaluated alongside, or as part of, the main investment solution options. Parties involved in the implementation of operations, such as the transport operations centres, also have a need to consider the economic impacts, benefits and balances as part of their day-to-day tasks and processes.
The key purpose of this research was to identify economic approaches, evaluation methodologies, comparison with ‘standard’ interventions, and develop a feasible framework for the economic assessment of these activities.