Applying Benefit–Cost Analysis for Airport Improvements: Challenges in a Multimodal World

Benefit–cost analysis (BCA) is widely used for airport investment analysis, for both ranking of alternatives and funding decisions. Although the technique is theoretically straightforward, its application can become complicated by a series of factors that are particularly problematic for aviation applications. For one, the requirement for ground access makes air travel intrinsically multimodal. In addition, the speed of air travel attracts classes of users and dependent parties with particular speed sensitivities and delay consequences. When BCA is applied to airport project proposals, it can raise issues of how to handle competing modes and intermodal interactions, and the definition of the real users and beneficiaries of airport improvements. To examine these issues, the authors compared benefit–cost guidance for airports with counterpart guidance for other travel modes and conducted a review of the current state of practice of benefit–cost studies for airport improvements. The findings point to challenges for improving methods of airport BCA.


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  • Accession Number: 01154452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309160476
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 10-3789
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jan 25 2010 11:56AM