Public transport evaluation

Authored by: Glen Weisbrod , Naomi Stein

The Routledge Handbook of Public Transport

Print publication date:  May  2021
Online publication date:  May  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367418724
eBook ISBN: 9780367816698
Adobe ISBN:


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Most public transportation investment and operation decisions are made by considering the benefits, costs and impacts of proposed actions. This process may be formal or informal. “Evaluation” is the formal, systematic process of calculating or estimating those factors. “Ex post” (backward-looking) evaluation measures impacts of existing projects and services, which makes it possible to optimize current efforts and learn lessons for future designs. “Ex ante” (forward-looking) evaluation calculates the expected impacts of proposed projects and services, which makes it possible to select the most efficient and effective choices among available decision options. For public transportation, evaluation is particularly important and complex because public transportation is a service operated for the public as well as an infrastructure investment. Several different kinds of measurement and modeling methods can be applied to evaluate public transportation projects and programs, depending on the context. They may be applied to assess the effectiveness of public transportation schemes in addressing transportation performance goals or to assess achievement of broader financial, efficiency, equity, environment and economic development goals. This chapter provides a framework for public transportation planners and operators to identify evaluation needs and approaches for addressing them.

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