Value for money in a changing economy.
43rd Universities Transport Study Group Conference, Milton Keynes, UK, 5th-7th January, 2011.
Nine areas of spending are compared for value for money, using an innovative method allowing for declining marginal benefits as expenditure increases. The comparison includes allowance for radically new expectations of traffic growth, changes in the treatment of taxation, and the increasing importance of benefits other than classical time savings. Quantitative results suggest that local safety measures, smarter choices and cycling schemes offer the best value for money, then some local bus improvements and new light rail schemes. Highways Agency and Local Roads schemes perform very poorly after updating their results for the new circumstances. A greater total transport benefit can be produced even in the context of substantial public expenditure cuts, though that may require changes to the rules for distinguishing capital and revenue spending.. This version of the written paper reports the method and results, and will be updated at the conference with a discussion of the changing political context within which such research can be accommodated or rejected, because of the challenge and support it gives to different vested interests, and its salience for public and political attitudes and expectations.
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