Identifying the economic value of rail services: issues in transport assessment and evaluation

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, mode - rail


Following a literature review of international practice, the authors’ main research concluded that New Zealand procedures fell short of good international practice, which typically incorporates ‘strategic assessment’ followed by proposal-specific ‘detailed evaluation’ procedures. The original research was supplemented by further (as yet unpublished) research work in this field to develop more complete and detailed evaluation procedures for rail proposals. This paper explores why rail often appears to perform poorly on the basis of current procedures, and concludes that this is partly due to New Zealand’s history of transport funding. The hypothecation of road transport taxation, has lead to a ‘user-pays’ perception of accountability to motorised road users. One of the consequences of this is that some benefits are either inadequately or inappropriately valued within current evaluation procedures.