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Accentuate the positive transport planners told

COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS to appraise new transport projects and policies should take a wider view of the economic effects on a region, according to the Government's Standing Advisory Committee on Trunk Road Assessment.

A new formalised procedure is required early in the assessment process, SACTRA concludes in its latest report 'Transport and the Economy', which compares the project cost with the full social cost of the scheme.

SACTRA suggests a standard 'Economic Impact Report' to include estimates of the changes caused by the project to economic activity and jobs between areas. This, it says, should identify the winners as well as the losers.

'Our broad conclusion is that the conventional social cost benefit procedures need to be improved if they are to do full justice to the direct behavioural responses and choices, let alone the complex effects of these on the economy,' the SACTRA report says.

'Therefore we recommend improvements to current procedures to bring them closer to a 'fully specified' conventional cost benefit analysis.'

SACTRA also concludes that 'carefully judged policies' such as transport pricing, management and investment initiatives could realistically assist in reducing the environmental and congestion costs of traffic. But in each case assessment is required with a 'more systematic consideration of the impacts on the wider economy', it says.

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