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


  • Thomopoulos, Nikolaos
  • Grant-Muller, Susan


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.

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  • Thomopoulos, Nikolaos & Grant-Muller, Susan, 2013. "Incorporating equity as part of the wider impacts in transport infrastructure assessment: an application of the SUMINI approach," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60073, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:60073

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stef Proost & Fay Dunkerley & Saskia Loo & Nicole Adler & Johannes Bröcker & Artem Korzhenevych, 2014. "Do the selected Trans European transport investments pass the cost benefit test?," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 107-132, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Xu, Meng & Grant-Muller, Susan & Gao, Ziyou, 2015. "Evolution and assessment of economic regulatory policies for expressway infrastructure in China," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 42-49.
    2. Karen Lucas & Bert Wee & Kees Maat, 2016. "A method to evaluate equitable accessibility: combining ethical theories and accessibility-based approaches," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(3), pages 473-490, May.
    3. Niek Mouter & Jan Annema & Bert Wee, 2015. "Managing the insolvable limitations of cost-benefit analysis: results of an interview based study," Transportation, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 277-302, March.
    4. Nahmias–Biran, Bat-hen & Shiftan, Yoram, 2016. "Towards a more equitable distribution of resources: Using activity-based models and subjective well-being measures in transport project evaluation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 672-684.

    More about this item


    Transport assessment; Appraisal framework; Equity; Wider impacts; CBA; MCA; AHP; SUMINI;

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance


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