The Challenge

Mechanisms for measuring the value of public transport in New Zealand are currently limited and generally only consider financial aspects. This research sought to understand and appraise the additional incremental value that is added to a public transport network by services that in isolation may be comparatively inefficient. 

The Solution

Through investigation of literature, engagement with stakeholders and public transport planners, Abley were able to identify and understand the elements that influence the value of public transport. Public transport ticketing data and census data was also interrogated to understand network usage.  This research demonstrates how current NZ Transport Agency economic evaluation manual procedures potentially underestimate the value of a public transport route/ network and suggests a more comprehensive approach to quantifying the broader economic and social impact of the removal or addition of network services. 

The Outcome

This research developed a framework that extends the NZ Transport Agency’s economic evaluation procedures to consider the contribution of isolated services to the wider network value. This will enable public transport planners to measure broader social and accessibility values of public transport, in addition to economic value, and compare the benefits and costs of changes taking into consideration the many trade-offs, as well as community and political sensitivities.

The full research report 616 is available for download from the NZ Transport Agency website. 

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