Economic appraisal of public transport

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - appraisal/evaluation, economics - benefits, place - australasia, planning - service improvement


service enhancements, public transport, New Zealand, economic appraisal, social cost benefits


This research project was undertaken to provide guidance on appropriate methods and benefits parameters to use in the economic appraisal of public transport proposals (in particular service enhancements) in New Zealand.

The research involved two focus areas and a case study. The first focus area included an international review of economic and project appraisal approaches and procedures, followed by a detailed assessment of selected international appraisal procedures. The second focus area involved a comprehensive review of existing New Zealand and Australian research evidence on public transport user benefit parameter values. Finally, a case study based on the Wellington public transport spine study short list evaluation was undertaken to illustrate the potential application of recommended improvements to economic appraisal procedures and recommended user benefit parameter values.

The research found that social cost benefit analysis and cost effectiveness analysis were the most appropriate methods for economic appraisal of public transport proposals in New Zealand, and that an appropriate level of analysis should be undertaken. Recommended default values for appropriate user benefit parameters were also identified.


Permission to link to the report has been given by NZ Transport Agency


This publication is copyright © NZ Transport Agency 2013. Material in it may be reproduced for personal or in-house use without formal permission or charge, provided suitable acknowledgement is made to this publication and the NZ Transport Agency as the source. Requests and enquiries about the reproduction of material in this publication for any other purpose should be made to the Research Programme Manager, Programmes, Funding and Assessment, National Office, NZ Transport Agency, Private Bag 6995, Wellington 6141.