, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 315-345
Date: 05 Oct 2012

Incorporating equity as part of the wider impacts in transport infrastructure assessment: an application of the SUMINI approach

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Abstract

The state of the art in appraisal of transport infrastructure (particularly for developed countries) is moving towards inclusivity of a set of wider impacts than has traditionally been the case. In appraisal frameworks generally Multi-Criteria Analysis (MCA), features as either an alternative to, or complementary with, Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) particularly when assessing a wider set of distributional and other impacts. In that respect it goes some way towards addressing an identified weakness in conventional CBA. This paper proposes a new method to incorporate the wider impacts into the appraisal framework (SUMINI) based upon a composite indicator and MCA. The method is illustrated for a particular example of the wider set of impacts, i.e. equity, through the ex-post assessment of two large EU transport infrastructure (TEN-T) case studies. The results suggest that SUMINI assesses equity impacts well and the case studies highlight the flexibility of the approach in reflecting different policy or project objectives. The research concludes that this method should not be viewed as being in competition with traditional CBA, but that it could be an easily adopted and complementary approach. The value in the research is in providing a new and significant methodological advance to the historically difficult question of how to evaluate equity and other wider impacts. The research is of strong international significance due to the publication of the TEN-Ts review by the European Commission, as well as the transnational nature of large scale interurban transport schemes, the involvement of national and transnational stakeholder groups in the approval and funding of those schemes, the large numbers of population potentially subject to equity and other wider impacts and the degree of variation in the regional objectives and priorities for transport decision makers.