Substantial errors in forecasting ridership and costs for the ten rail transit projects reviewed in this report, put forth the possibility that more accurate forecasts would have led decision-makers to select projects other than those reviewed in this report. This study examines the accuracy of forecasts prepared for ten major capital improvement projects in nine urban areas during 1971-1987. Each project includes construction of a fixed transit guideway: Rapid Rail or Metrorail (Washington DC, Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami); Light Rail Transit (Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Portland, Sacramento); and Downtown Peoplemover (Miami and Detroit). The study examines why actual costs and ridership differed so markedly from their forecast values. It focuses on the accuracy of projections made available to local decision-makers at the time when the choice among alternative projects was actually made. The study compares forecast and actual values for four types of measures: Ridership, Capital costs and financing, Operating and maintenance costs, and Cost-effectiveness. Forecasting data used in making comparisons were obtained from published planning documents; actual data were drawn from a combination of published sources, internal documents, and direct contacts with employees. This review of past forecasting errors identifies the causes of the divergence between forecast and actual performance of these projects; makes recommendations to improve the reliability of forecasts for future projects; and contributes toward fostering better urban transportation investment decisions. This report is organized into 6 chapters, numerous tables, and an appendix that documents the sources of all data appearing in the tables presented in this report.

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 164 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00489831
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Urban Mass Transportation Administration
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTA-MA-08-9021-89-1
  • Contract Numbers: UMTA-MA-08-9021
  • Files: NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1990 12:00AM