New Approaches to Strategic Urban Transport Assessment


Chris A. Hale

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, land use - planning, land use - smart growth, land use - transit oriented development, land use - urban density, land use - urban design, land use - urban sprawl, planning - integration, planning - methods, policy - sustainable


strategic assessment, urban planning, strategic planning, project appraisal


Most transport assessment is generally based on incremental analysis of individual projects with pre-existing planning and political support. Unfortunately, this approach to transport decision-making is unlikely to result in cities being able to meet a comprehensive range of desired urban objectives on a broader-scale over time. Project analysis is generally based on benefit-cost analysis and intermediate metrics (vehicle kilometres travelled, time savings and road user costs). But additional metrics may be needed to assess goals and performance relating to broader transport outcomes in a metropolitan region and its society, environment and economy.

“Higher level” strategic metropolitan transport analysis offers the opportunity of a more strategic platform for region-wide transport policy discussion, assessment, planning and network improvements. It may also assist to demonstrate passenger rail’s unique opportunity to contribute to better city futures through economic development, sustainability, and lifestyle improvements. These can be delivered by targeted changes in policy, infrastructure and network enhancements, improved service characteristics, better network utilization, and stronger system financial performance. Performance of passenger rail networks, corridors and proposals is a focus, but improvements to rail over time should ultimately be reflected in a wider set of outcomes and measurables.

This paper reviews the established literature and research on transport analysis approaches, key performance indicators at an urban or metropolitan level, metrics on the utilization and effectiveness of rail mass transit, accessibility, and a handful of broader social, economic and environmental performance indicators.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.