Evaluation of capital investment alternatives should encompass assessments of efficiency, effectiveness, and equity. This report approaches the definition, interpretation, and application of these concepts. Issues covered relate to user and non-user benefits, measurement techniques and principles, evaluation techniques, relationship of evaluation to goals and objectives, and relative strengths and weaknesses of the various types of assessments. More attention is paid to the question of efficiency--the selection of projects that maximize net social benefits--and the benefit-cost framework in particular, than is typical in current professional practice. One reason for this is that the concepts of benefit-cost evaluation appear to be both poorly understood and misunderstood, with the result that efficiency analysis has not been applied as insightfully as it might be in project planning. Another reason is that the transportation planning field has been searching for an organizing framework with which to make sense out of the welter of impacts, objectives, and interests that typically surround urban transportation project decisionmaking, and the benefit-cost rubric is capable of supplying that framework. Finally, the content of investment decisions has shifted from a problem of spatially allocating an externally determined amount of new capacity, to a problem of fine-tuning a muture transportation system that is no longer expanding. It is thus important to be clearer about what is wanted and what is expected from urban transportation investments, and to know better the real costs and benefits of investment alternatives. Various kinds of effectiveness analysis are also needed, and will continue to serve an essential purpose in helping to choose among projects, but less guidance is needed in this area because the state of professional practice is close to the state of the art.

  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Systems Center

    55 Broadway, Kendall Square
    Cambridge, MA  United States  02142
  • Authors:
    • Lee, D B
  • Publication Date: 1983-1

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00387983
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UMTA-UGM-22
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 30 1984 12:00AM