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Extending monetary values to broader performance and impact measures: Transportation applications and lessons for other fields


  • Weisbrod, Glen
  • Lynch, Teresa
  • Meyer, Michael


This article examines recent progress at assigning monetary values to what are normally considered "hard to quantify" benefits of transportation projects. It focuses on three types of impacts - environmental quality, health and wider economic impacts - to examine how transportation project evaluation methods have evolved in recent years and how they compare to methods used for evaluation of non-transportation programs. Examples of recent practice are provided to show how transport agencies are continuing to refine performance measures to include broader impacts in project evaluation. A classification is provided to distinguish direct traveler effects from indirect effects on non-travelers, a step important to maximize coverage and minimize double-counting of impacts. For each type of impact, the paper discusses the range of variation in monetized values and shows that the variation is due less to imprecision in measurement than to fundamental issues about whether to use damage compensation, impact avoidance costs, stated preferences or behavioral valuation perspectives to define those values. Case studies as diverse as Australian roads, Wisconsin energy programs and Appalachian economic development programs are used to show how common methods are evolving among transport and non-transport agencies to improve impact measurement and its use in project evaluation.

Suggested Citation

  • Weisbrod, Glen & Lynch, Teresa & Meyer, Michael, 2009. "Extending monetary values to broader performance and impact measures: Transportation applications and lessons for other fields," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 332-341, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:epplan:v:32:y:2009:i:4:p:332-341

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dani Shefer & Haim Aviram, 2005. "Incorporating Agglomeration Economies In Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Transport Projects," ERSA conference papers ersa05p133, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Glen Weisbrod, 2008. "Models to predict the economic development impact of transportation projects: historical experience and new applications," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 42(3), pages 519-543, September.
    3. Daniel J. Graham, 2007. "Agglomeration, Productivity and Transport Investment," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 41(3), pages 317-343, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nikolaos Thomopoulos & Susan Grant-Muller, 2013. "Incorporating equity as part of the wider impacts in transport infrastructure assessment: an application of the SUMINI approach," Transportation, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 315-345, February.
    2. Vieira, José Geraldo Vidal & Mendes, Juliana Veiga & Suyama, Suzi Sanae, 2016. "Shippers and freight operators perceptions of sustainable initiatives," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 54(C), pages 173-181.
    3. repec:eee:transa:v:106:y:2017:i:c:p:261-277 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Thakuriah (Vonu), Piyushimita & Persky, Joseph & Soot, Siim & Sriraj, P.S., 2013. "Costs and benefits of employment transportation for low-wage workers: An assessment of job access public transportation services," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 31-42.


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