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Appraising the benefits of bottleneck removal in rail transport: a simplified CBA approach


  • Beria, Paolo
  • Grimaldi, Raffaele


The removal of infrastructure bottlenecks is widely considered among the most profitable interventions, in socio-economic terms, and rail transport is not an exception. However, as outlined for example by RailPAG (2005), the measurement of the related benefits is difficult and no specific manuals indications seem to exist. From a general point of view, by removing a rail bottleneck we expect at least two kinds of benefits: direct benefits to transport users and external benefits to the rest of society (environmental externalities, accidents and congestion) due to the avoidance of possible shift to more impactful transport modes. The first effect is particularly hard to correctly evaluate, especially without a complete transport model, and thus CBAs currently performed might often result biased. The aim of this paper is to propose a simplified approach to estimate the effects of a capacity constraints for a simple rail network, and assess its removal through a CBA. In the first part, we briefly analyse the transport economics literature on the issue. In the following we introduce the proposed methodology, based on the use of a standard logit model, to measure the rail users’ generalised costs with and without the capacity constraint, and the consequent users and social surplus variation. The model is specified initially for a single link and then extended to a more complex network. Then, we outline the other elements to be included into a CBA in addition to surplus variation: rail service performance improvements, external costs associated to road shift and possible wider economic effects. We also discuss the effect of regulation in the distribution of calculated surplus variations.

Suggested Citation

  • Beria, Paolo & Grimaldi, Raffaele, 2013. "Appraising the benefits of bottleneck removal in rail transport: a simplified CBA approach," MPRA Paper 46889, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:46889

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Yukihiro Kidokoro, 2004. "Cost-Benefit Analysis for Transport Networks: Theory and Application," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 38(2), pages 275-307, May.
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    More about this item


    Cost Benefit Analysis; bottleneck; rail; saturation; assessment; infrastructure;

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning

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