Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Public Transit Projects: A Guidebook for Practitioners

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - safety/accidents, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, policy - environment, economics - benefits


Benefit cost analysis; CD-ROM, Economic impacts, Environmental impacts, Guidelines, Investments, Public transit, Safety


This report provides a valuable resource for people who have the difficult and often cumbersome responsibility of analyzing the benefits and costs of public transportation services and presenting the results of these analyses to decisionmakers, the media, and the public. The report will be of particular interest to individuals who plan and evaluate the benefits and costs of new investments in public transportation. Other audiences for this report include policymakers, transportation activists, other transportation professionals, and students in related fields. The guidebook is divided into five sections. Section I explains how to use the guidebook and provides an overview of benefit-cost evaluation concepts and their application to transit projects. Section II addresses the basic benefits and costs of transit projects, including impacts on travel, secondary impacts on the environment and safety, and the direct costs and revenues of transit projects. Section III discusses other benefits and costs of transit projects, including impacts on land use and land development, economic impacts, and the distribution of impacts. Section IV provides an example with sample analyses. Section V consists of four appendices that provide a bibliography, integrated models for conducting comprehensive benefit-cost analysis, sample calculations, and conversion factors for calculating constant dollars.


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