WIT Press

Is It Worth It? Sketch Appraisal Of The Relevance Of Proposals For New Rail Lines


Free (open access)





Page Range

415 - 424




356 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


P. Tzieropoulos & R. Gindrat


Proposal for building new rail lines or extending existing ones may become a mixed blessing for transport policy managers. On the one hand, proposals may eventually lead to projects that enhance the rail network, upgrade the services and, ultimately, increase the rail patronage. On the other hand, extravagant ideas may in fine hamper legitimate developments or, at least, create enough confusion to stall the public debate about more valuable investments. It is interesting to be able to assess the relevance of an idea at the very early stages. This may help explaining to politicians and to the general public not only the advantages of a proposal but also the issues that are related to it. The tool that has been developed is based on the work done by Prof. Baumgartner, who published a quite complete catalogue of unitary costs, investment and operational as well. It uses a complete and scalable set of unitary costs that users may modify and adapt to their own context, and provides answers to questions such as: • What is the level of public subsidy to make a project economically viable, given the expected demand and the fare structure? • What is the required level of demand, given the public subsidy and the fare structure, to ensure the economic viability of a project? The tool is a single, quite sophisticated, Excel file, with all the initial data customisable by the user. It is scalable: the user may opt for synthetic/global values or, on the contrary, for a more detailed cost structure with a more in-depth break-down of the unitary costs. The tool targets the early stages of a project, even when its alignment is not yet fully defined. The objective is to produce a first \“Go/No Go” decision to further pursue and study an initial idea. Keywords: sketch planning, unitary costs, Baumgartner, new rail line.


sketch planning, unitary costs, Baumgartner, new rail line.