Evaluating Transport Schemes which make Better Use of the Existing Network

Publisher:Department for Transport
Publication type:Instructional
Published date: 2 November 2009
Mode/topic:Roads, Appraisal and evaluation

The Department for Transport is taking forward a programme of research to understand and generate evidence about the impacts of small-scale, low-cost transport schemes which make 'Better Use' of the existing network. The research was initiated by DfT in 2007, after their potential benefits (but a lack of evidence) were highlighted by Eddington. Better Use schemes include a wide range of walking, cycling and traffic management interventions, and sustainable travel initiatives (Smarter Choices).

The range of impacts considered in this research is framed by the five DfT goals, in recognition of the need to build the evidence base about the impacts of sustainable travel interventions, and inform and improve developmental transport appraisal models.

The first outputs of this research programme published here are two research reports; 'Impacts of Better Use Transport Interventions: Review of the Evaluation Evidence' (conducted by Independent Social Research), and 'Evaluation of Better Use Interventions: Evaluation Framework Report' (conducted by Aecom).

The evidence review provides a synthesis of the existing evaluation evidence, building understanding about the scale and range of the benefits of Better Use schemes, and how they contribute to the Department's goals. The review included UK and relevant international evaluation studies, considered the extent and robustness of this evidence base, identified key evidence gaps and highlighted some of the challenges faced when evaluating these types of schemes. The evaluation framework builds on this assessment to provide guidance for DfT to undertake evaluations which help build the evidence base around key gaps.

The review highlights that the existing evidence base is patchy, and studies reviewed were of varying quality. This was often due to the small-scale and low-cost nature of Better Use schemes, which meant that it was not feasible to undertake large-scale, comprehensive evaluations. Key findings are highlighted in the Research Summary.

The evaluation framework was developed in recognition of the need for a consistent approach for obtaining evidence, and attributing impacts to specific transport interventions. It has been designed primarily to be used in comprehensive evaluations commissioned by DfT, which aim to address key gaps in the evidence base. The evaluation framework is currently being used to this effect in an evaluation of the Cycling City and Towns programme.

Research Summary

A programme of research to understand and generate evidence about the impacts of small-scale, low-cost transport schemes which make 'Better Use' of the existing network. The research was initiated by DfT in 2007, after their potential benefits (but a lack of evidence) were highlighted by the Eddington study. Better Use schemes include a wide range of walking, cycling and traffic management interventions, and sustainable travel initiatives (Smarter Choices).

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