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Author Topic: Delayed report gives smart motorway negative benefit cost ratio  (Read 882 times)
Transport Scholar
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« on: September 08, 2021, 01:06:19 pm »

Not sure if this is the right place to post but...

From Highways Magazine Delayed report gives smart motorway negative benefit cost ratio

National Highways has been forced to release two key reports on smart motorways following a Freedom of Information request from Highways.

These include a five-year post opening project evaluation that showed that a scheme on the M1 is on track to have negative journey time benefits of nearly a quarter of a billion pounds over 60 years rather than forecast benefits of nearly £1bn.

Overall, the scheme is forecast to have a benefit cost ratio of minus 0.8, compared with a forecast of 1.4, meaning that the scheme is making things worse in terms of monetised benefits while in operation.

It reports that a review of the smart motorway work on the M1 Junctions 10 to 13 completed in 2012, found that instead of the predicted Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio)) of 1.4 it had a BCR of -0.8 meaning that there were negative benefits.   

Perhaps this will cause a rethink as the roads lobby tries to defend such projects. 

Edit: Minus inserted before 0.8
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 02:02:01 pm by rogerw » Logged
Transport Scholar
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« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2021, 11:55:35 am »

MINUS 0.8…..
Witham Bobby
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« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2021, 12:48:24 pm »

Massively surprised.  Not.

My real objection to these schemes where the hard-shoulder of a motorway is permanently changed to a running lane is that of safety.  I had a very nasty surprise when a turbo of the car I was driving blew-up on one such stretch of the Nottinghamshire M1.  It was not a pleasant experience.  Fortunately I managed to limp the car to Trowell Services. I really didn't fancy the idea of stopping in a live traffic lane.
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« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2021, 12:52:14 pm »

MINUS 0.8…..

So let me see

1.4 - for every £100 spent, £140 comes back in benefit - FORECAST
0.8 - for every £100 spent, there is only £80 back in benefit
-0.8 - for every £100 spent, there is an additional cost of £80 - spending made it worse - ACTUAL

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« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2021, 02:26:38 pm »

Having looked at the full report the negative result mainly arises from journey time impairment on the benefits side but this has been impacted by dynamic hard shoulder schemes having a maximum speed of 60mph when the hard shoulder lane is in operation as opposed to all lane running schemes where this is 70mph.

Also much of the increase in capacity has been eaten into by taking additional traffic, which wasn't taken into account on the benefit side, ie considering what the situation would be if the previous three lanes were carrying the current amount of vehicles.
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2021, 01:17:39 pm »

Is there any point trying to calculate the BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio) for any scheme? If it comes out fairly low, for a scheme proposed from outside, the Government can say that's not high enough to be worthwhile, and if it's a Government scheme they just ignore it and go ahead anyway.

Just before the last election, outgoing Welsh Government transport minister (Ken Skates) ordered that two sections of the A40 in Pembrokeshire should be diverted and increased from the current single-carriageway to 2+1 standard. A single construction contract has now been let and enacted on behalf of the Welsh Ministers for both sections under the current Welsh Government. The predicted Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) for these schemes was as follows:
  • Llanddewi Velfrey to Penblewin improvement - BCR = 0.13
  • Penblewin to Redstone Cross improvement - BCR = 0.27
However, in both cases they said the BCR would improve substatially (though still less than one) if the speed limit on the existing road was lower. This illustrates that journey time savings for motorists are still considered to be a benefit. I would argue that, since time savings for motorists makes the car relatively more attractive than public transport compared to the current suituation they should be counted as a disbenefit.

Don't DOO (Driver-Only Operation (that is, trains which operate without carrying a guard)) it, keep the guard (but it probably wouldn't be a bad idea if the driver unlocked the doors on arrival at calling points).
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