Using the Kaldor–Hicks Tableau to assess sustainability in cost–benefit analysis in transport: An example framework for rail transit

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, policy - sustainable


Mass transit, Cost–benefit analysis, Kaldor–Hicks Tableau, Sustainable transport


Sustainability in transport is a thoroughly discussed and critically important issue for current and future generations, and has been the focus of significant research in many fields. However, application of sustainability, in particular to transport planning and assessments of transport projects, is lacking. This paper proposes a framework for cost–benefit analysis that realizes the sustainability impacts of public transport improvements. A case example of introducing a rail component to a bus-only transit system is used, as this particular type of investment has been both lauded for its impacts on sustainability (despite little measurement of such) and criticized for its cost inefficiencies (despite its political and public popularity).

The research reviews relevant literature on sustainability, rail transit, and cost–benefit analysis in transport. Then, a Kaldor–Hicks Tableau is discussed and a framework for analyzing the implementation of a rail line to transit system is proposed. The stakeholders, costs, benefits, and transfers associated with such a project are then detailed. The Tableau and discussion allow for the definition and incorporation of sustainability components to assessment of the project. Implications for managerial practice and contributions to scholarly knowledge are discussed.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Research in Transportation Business & Management