Evaluating productivity impacts of transport

Publisher:Department for Transport
Publication type:Instructional
Published date: 6 April 2009
Mode/topic:Roads, Appraisal and evaluation

Transport has a key role in supporting and increasing productivity at a local, regional and national level. In order to measure the extent to which such benefits have been realised in future years, the Department has been taking forward a programme of research to develop an approach to evaluating the productivity impacts of key transport schemes. The aim of such evaluations will be to generate as comprehensive an understanding as possible of how transport schemes influence productivity at different geographical levels. This complements work to incorporate productivity impacts (i.e. Wider Impacts) more fully into transport appraisal. Latest developments of this work are published at http://​www​.dft​.gov​.uk/​w​e​b​t​a​g​/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​p​r​o​j​e​c​t​-​m​a​n​a​g​e​r​/​u​n​i​t​2​.​8​c​.​php and http://​www​.dft​.gov​.uk/​w​e​b​t​a​g​/​d​o​c​u​m​e​n​t​s​/​e​x​p​e​r​t​/​u​n​i​t​3​.​5​.​1​4​c​.​php.

An initial scoping study was completed by researchers at the London School of Economics, which assessed the feasibility and considered different methodological options for evaluating the productivity impacts of transport schemes.

The study aimed to:

  • Clarify the potential productivity effects of transport investments;
  • Assess how these productivity effects might be captured as part of the evaluation of particular transport schemes;
  • Explain how the outputs of this evaluation approach correspond to elements of the Wider Impacts appraisal guidance.

The full methodological report and summary are intended for an audience with an understanding of the underlying economic theory. The methodology has been peer reviewed by three academic experts prior to publication (Roger Vickerman from the University of Kent; Helen Simpson from the University of Bristol; and Anna Vignoles from the Institute of Education).

Following on from the scoping study, researchers at the London School of Economics undertook a pilot study to empirically test the methodology by applying it retrospectively to existing road transport schemes.