Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working papers in Transport Economics,
CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI)

No 2013:31: On timetable assumptions in railway investment appraisal

Jonas Eliasson () and Maria Börjesson ()
Additional contact information
Jonas Eliasson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Maria Börjesson: KTH, Postal: Centrum för Transportstudier (CTS), Teknikringen 10, 100 44 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: The benefits captured in an appraisal of a railway investment are determined by what timetables the analyst assumes in the scenarios with and without the investment. Without an explicit, objective and verifiable principle for which timetables to assume, the appraisal outcome is virtually arbitrary. This means that appraisals of railway investments cannot be compared to each other, and opens the door for strategic behaviour by stakeholders conducting seemingly objective cost-benefit analysis. We explain and illustrate the nature and extent of the problem, and discuss the practical consequences for appraisal comparability and conscious or unconscious misrepresentation. Finally, we discuss possible objective principles for appraisal timetable construction and contrast this with current practice, which is shown to be likely to exaggerate investment benefits in an appraisal.

Keywords: Cost-benefit analysis; Appraisal; Railway investments; Timetables

JEL-codes: R40

21 pages, October 28, 2013

Note: Previously published in: Proceedings of the 2011 Conference and the Summer School, Stockholm, Sweden, June 29, 2011. And in: TRB 91st Annual Meeting Compendium of Papers DVD, 2012, Paper no: 12-2124.

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CTS2013-31.pdf PDF-file 

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Published as
Jonas Eliasson and Maria Börjesson, (2014), 'On timetable assumptions in railway investment appraisal', Transport Policy, vol 36, pages 118-126

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