Public Transport Authorities’ use of Cost-Benefit Analysis in practice

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, planning - surveys, economics - appraisal/evaluation


Cost Benefit Analysis, Economic efficiency, Survey, CBA usage, Decision support


Given the Swedish national goals for transport and infrastructure, economic efficiency is essential also in public transport. In 2003, Ljungberg (2007) sought to answer to which extent PTAs use Cost-Benefit analyses (CBA), a methodology to assess economic efficiency, in their planning of operations and infrastructure. It was found that CBA was seldom used. This paper tries to answer the same question, but for year 2016. The aim of this paper is to see to what extent PTAs are using CBA at the time of the survey, and investigate whether there are any changes with the previous study.

A survey was sent to all Swedish PTAs with questions regarding current, previous, and projected future use of CBA. Questions about knowledge of reference materials and why the organization use (or do not use) CBA was asked. The main result is that most PTAs are not using CBA as decision support. For those that do, the method is used mostly for investments in payment systems and major line or traffic changes. The PTAs seem not regard a lack of economic resources a reason for not using CBA. Rather, lack of knowledge and more reliance on other types of decision support are the reasons.


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


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