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31 S t e p 4 4.1 Goal The goal of this step is to identify all benefit triggers, project measures, and metrics that could be important in the BCA for all the modes involved in the proposed project(s). For purposes of this guidebook, a benefit trigger is defined as a factor in the project design that drives a benefit and that can be linked to a broader goal. Placed this way, triggers become the link between what is planned for (source and cause), steps taken through dedicated invest- ments, and the expected gain (benefits) or loss (losses), which then leads to direct and indirect benefit considerations. 4.2 Tasks Identify Planning Objectives to Be Met The purpose and need for each alternative indicate what potential benefits and impacts should be considered. Consider the broader freight planning purpose and context. Examples of possible motivations include: â¢ Expand the existing facility. â¢ Build a new or alternative facility or link. â¢ Make operational improvements to the existing facility and develop special truck lanes, secu- rity considerations for hazardous cargo, and other improvements to improve freight flow and minimize negative safety impacts from conflicts. â¢ Provide connectivity and build resilience or build safer communities. â¢ Improve access and connectivity, including landside, last-mile, or first-mile access to termi- nals and gateways for trade flows and freight movement. Table 3 lists some of the more common benefits that may be triggered by specific types of project alternatives or modal solutions. Each of the benefits can be linked to stakeholder motivations. Identify Applicable Direct and Indirect Benefit Measures and Metrics Indirect benefits or costs, and higher-order benefits or costs are best evaluated using the con- cept of externalities (see Table 4). A key part of BCA is to identify which benefits to include and internalize as part of BCA. In a multimodal context, these effects must span all impacted modes. Excluding pertinent effects leads to a misleading BCA. In practice, internalization of internal and external cost/benefits or externalities implies that there are specific efforts to consider them Identify Benefit Triggers and Metrics
32 Guide for Conducting Benefit-Cost Analyses of Multimodal, Multijurisdictional Freight Corridor Investments Example Project type TimeSavings Throughput/ Capacity/ Trade/Cargo Flows Operations Costs and/or Maintenance Environ- mental Safety/ Accidents Safety/ Damage Reduction Reliability/ Delay Reductions Other (Development, Jobs, and Tax Revenues) Capacity enhancements (line haul or terminal) Terminal access/modal consolidation New modes Electric cargo handling vehicles (ports, intermodal yards) accompanied with other improvements (productivity) context dependent May or may not apply depending on context Terminal modernization (ports, airports) accompanied with other improvements (productivity) context dependent May or may not apply depending on context Highway rail grade crossings Table 3. Project types and potential benefit triggers (including cost reductions or cost avoidance). Order of Benefit Primary Purpose/PlanningObjectives Indirect Effects-Externalities First Direct benefit triggers from Table 3. Direct benefits/costs or externalities. Secondary consequence of primary objective(s). Also include other effects of interest to policy makers like those associated with economic impact analysis (not BCA) (jobs, induced spending effects). Internal or Private Costs (borne by consumers/ producers): time costs, other transport costs, logistic costs, operating costs. External costs (dis-benefits) /benefits (borne by non-users such as affected community): safety, environmental noise, air pollution, water quality, ecosystem protection, carbon emissions. SecondâHigher-order (wider benefits) Benefits induced from first- order benefitsâlogistical efficiencies, supply chain/reorganization effects, agglomeration effects. ThirdâHigher-order (Induced) (wider benefits) Benefits induced from second- order benefits (in other markets) Table 4. Direct and indirect benefits, positive and negative externality identification.
Identify Benefit triggers and Metrics 33 in decision making (by agencies or users) by measuring them first at the project level and then using a price assigned by an organization or by the market to allow monetization. Direct Benefits Since BCA is a partial equilibrium neoclassical approach, it must include direct benefit mea- sures that reflect both consumer and producer surpluses in order to provide a determination of the expected welfare change. The reliance on consumer surplus necessitates the use of the rule- of-half principle (Appendix A, Figure A1 and A2), which implies that benefits must include three user categories for user benefits: â¢ Existing users of a facility. â¢ New or induced usersâthis is typically a latent demand, assuming that capacity can absorb it when provided. It includes new freight attracted to the facility. â¢ Generated usersâthis is a new demand associated with those who were using the system earlier, but are using it more frequently. For example, a truck carrier who is able to make an extra trip because of the improvements. Table 5 presents a number of first-order TEE benefits and associated metrics that should be considered based on the primary purpose. Indirect and Wider Benefits Benefits can also be indirect if they are not the primary purpose of the project. Furthermore, effects can be indirect and induced from transport cost changes. Economic development-related indirect effects are easy to quantify using input-output methods. However, additional effects from cost changes are significantly more difficult to analyze than direct benefits, and the state of the art continues to develop. If the motivations are economic development-related such as jobs benefits (as may be the case in the development of intermodal terminals), a supporting economic impact analysis (EIA) may be required (separate from the BCA). The following types of indirect effects are not theoretically justifiable as part of a BCA but are certainly acceptable as part of an accompanying EIA: â¢ Effects of construction spending on jobs. â¢ Flow-through indirect effects of the induced spending dollars on different sectors of the econ- omy measured by increased value added and/or economic output, business sales, associated jobs, and personal income. â¢ Pecuniary externality effects such as those on land or property values and fiscal effects such as tax revenues. These effects occur temporally as a dynamic response to cost and access changes from transportation improvements. Therefore, their inclusion in the BCA is not justified. They are justified as part of an EIA or as a separate category in itself. They may be justified as the basis for valuation of the specific environmental benefit categories shown in Table 3 based on benefit transfer-type methods. Projects that influence development such as logistical facilities and inland ports may lead to induced land effects, which must be documented as a separate benefit account or category. However, there are specific indirect induced effects (wider benefits) that should be considered in BCA. The reason for considering additional indirect effects in BCA is that some classes of freight stakeholders or the markets they represent are characterized by market imperfections. FHWA defines these effects as second and third-order benefits (24) emphasizing the causal- ity. Acceptable benefits are specifically those that are the result of transportation-induced cost changes as reflected in: â¢ Induced freight volumes. â¢ Induced development and agglomeration effects.
34 Guide for Conducting Benefit-Cost Analyses of Multimodal, Multijurisdictional Freight Corridor Investments â¢ Induced logistical effects. â¢ Supply chain reorganization effects. Induced effects on shippers and other sectors of the economy can be positive or negative. They are discussed further in Step 7, but the groundwork for this discussion begins here along with other benefits. Reliability or service frequency related Service reliability. Context-sensitive inclusion. Minimum data requirements are travel models for sketch assessments on corridors. Good data refer to spatially referenced data. Service predictability. Not currently included. Not applicable Service reliability. Not currently included. Lack of metric definition. Predictability of cycle time for trucks calling at facility Metric Buffer time = (95th percentile - mean or median) (can be by O-D or peak period) Reflecting non-recurrent delay. Service quality measures like delay metrics or those based on probability distributions such as buffer time, on-time performance, or lateness metrics such as: Average cycle time7 and standard deviation First-Order Direct TEE Measures and Metrics Trucks/ Highway Air Freight (Airside Projects and Landside Access) Shallow and Deep-Draft Navigation Freight Rail Port Terminal Projects and Intermodal Facilities Time related Travel time change across alternatives Delay reduction to cargo, aircraft, and/or passengers across alternatives In port dwell time change and difference in trip time Travel time saved or optimized route distance across alternatives Dwell time of cargo in terminal and time to move a unit of cargo (ton or container) into or out of terminal Metric Travel time saved per unit of distance (Several guidance documentsâ AASHTO Redbook [25 ] and Economic Analysis Primer [9 ]) Reduced air freight ton delay hours by air side, terminals, and landside. Reduced truck delay hours in landside access. Reduced units of express cargo arriving at/departing after time required to make guaranteed delivery time. (FAA guidance [7 ]) Transport cost change (same O-D) and from trip delays (P&G [5 ]) Travel time saved per unit of distance or over the entire route for through cargo Reduction of average dwell time of cargo in terminal. Load and discharge rates Cycle time6 for moving cargo into or out of terminalâ typically measured as truck turnaround time Cost related (per hour or per mile) Operating cost change (fuel and non-fuel), shipping cost change, and asset maintenance cost change Operating cost change (fuel and non-fuel) including crew costs Operating cost change including crew costs and vessel costs Operating costs (fuel and non-fuel) Operating cost changes for trucks as result of reduced cycle time Metric Operating cost change (fuel and non-fuel) in dollars/mile or dollars/hour. Shipping cost per hour. Operating costs by aircraft hour Operating cost change (fuel and non-fuel) in dollars/hour or dollars/mile Operating cost change (fuel and non-fuel) in dollars/mile or dollars/hour Operating cost change for fuel and labor in dollars/cycle Value of the standard deviation of lateness Value of average lateness Table 5. First-order TEE metrics across modesâmeasurement and monetization. 6Cycle time as used here is defined as the elapsed time between when an operator arrives at the terminal to conduct a cargo movement operation and when he leaves. 7Cycle time as used here is defined as the elapsed time between when an operator arrives at the terminal to conduct a cargo movement operation and when he leaves.
Identify Benefit triggers and Metrics 35 Quantifiable, Non-Quantifiable Benefits, and Other Social Benefits (or Non-Benefits) in BCA Carefully catalog benefits that can be quantified or valued in the BCA as monetized dollar values, and those that cannot be quantified or monetized in the BCA but can be documented by a range of metrics (qualitative or quantitative). â¢ Non-quantifiable metrics are those that are justified in an economic BCA but cannot be measured by the analyst. For example, not having access to temporal data on on-time arrivals, speeds, or times can prevent the development of metrics to demonstrate reliability or on-time performance. However, other proxies can be reported, if hourly operating costs are available. For example, the use of delay costs per hour is such a proxy as it provides a cost estimate to freight operators/owners/agencies, but it is does not capture the effect of costs on the system users. A true measure would capture both effects, especially in contexts where systems are disrupted and where costs to both users and operators/owners can be high. â¢ Non-monetizable benefits are those that cannot be assigned a dollar value, but are impor- tant for understanding the overall effect and desirability of a project. At a minimum, non- monetizable and non-quantifiable benefits and their potential effect on the evaluation of the project should be discussed. They can be direct, indirect, or externalities. Discussing these as separate accounts to allow for transparent discussion using a multiple accounts framework (discussed in Step 9) is suggested. A multicriteria solution is the least optimal method for con- sidering such benefits. If the benefits are important, a subsequent analysis or feasibility study should seek to quantify metrics and/or monetize by developing specific measurement and valuation protocols. Non-benefits or other social benefits are benefits that are not really asso- ciated with economic efficiency. Some examples of these benefits include benefits associated with energy security, such as reductions in the use of barrels of imported oil. Such benefits, if important, can be separately reported or fully evaluated in the context. They are also more useful in the context of policy discussions. Project Suitability for Indirect Wider Benefits BCA is a toolkit for evaluating projects from a static efficiency perspective (i.e., focusing mainly on transport cost reductions). But in the context of large scale multimodal and/or multi- jurisdictional freight projects, there are interesting questions about the breadth of effects that should be considered. At what point and for what size of project does it become meaningful to consider not just the direct efficiency effects, but also the broader dynamic effects related to network and other externalities from expanded transport infrastructure? Project types where the potential exists to examine WEBs are typically those associated with the following conditions: â¢ Projects where induced demand can be high due to large cost reductions or large time sav- ings, financial cost savings, or logistical cost savings (also known as non-marginal projects) brought about by the improvements. These induced volumes may not be picked up by con- ventional traffic forecasts. If transport costs are a large part of the price of a commodity, then it is quite likely that observed volumes will be understated as estimated by conventional forecasts. â¢ Projects that address connectivity (multimodal modal connections) or bridge access to key markets, new routes, or modes in a significant way for shippers and carriers. â¢ Projects where development-related objectives are part of the project and the project has potential to induce development and land use responses and or stimulate trade growth. Inter- modal terminals and logistics facilities fall into this class of projects that add or enhance access to such facilities.
36 Guide for Conducting Benefit-Cost Analyses of Multimodal, Multijurisdictional Freight Corridor Investments In order to determine if higher-order benefits are important, certain criteria must be evaluated: â¢ Transport cost changes are large across the build and no-build alternatives (greater than 25% change compared to baseline no-build). â¢ Connectivity provided by modal connections is significant. This can be measured by the amount of cargo accessing the connection point, the size of the connection point itself, and the number of markets linked through the connection point. â¢ The project leads to new or induced development measured as additional trade-related indus- trial land development supporting cluster development at the facility. The Fixing America Surface Transportation (FAST) Act provides several examples of candi- dates where the opportunity to examine these criteria arise. They include: â¢ Freight projects with designation of national and regional significance that are included in freight plans. Segments of these networks that are included in state and regional freight plans should be examined as potential candidates for higher-order effects and wider benefits based on the extent of cost reductions and attendant development objectives. These projects are likely to have the most influence on the broader economy. â¢ Highway projects associated with National Freight Network as laid out under the FAST Act. â¢ Other multijurisdictional freight projects (freight rail, water, port projects, and intermodal projects) that will influence the other freight modes on the national freight network such as those âwithin the boundaries of a public or private freight rail, water (including ports) or intermodal facilityâ (25). Identify All Applicable First-Order TEE Benefits TEE benefits are microeconomic user benefits stemming from travel or transit time savings, or cost reductions to individual firms and public and private users of freight facilities and networks. These user benefits can accrue to all modes and to both freight users (i.e., shippers, carriers, and operators) and non-freight automobile users, depending on the project type and context. They require a measure of travel time/transport cost change (using impedance measures obtained in Step 4) and valuation measures. The main categories of TEE user benefits are time based and cost based. Time-based measures are driven by the measurement of time-related changes driven by the improvement as suggested in Table 5. Transit time refers to travel time and is typically used for rail and waterways when the measurement units refer to days in transit (as opposed to hours and minutes used for highways). Cost-based measures are driven by changes in traffic activity levels or direct changes in activity associated with cost change (such as fuel consumption). Time-Based â¢ Travel time savings (TTS) (measured in time units): TTS accrue directly from the level of service/speed improvement of the facility. This is most typical for highway projects. Highway users include carriers, third-party providers, drivers, and (indirectly) shippers that transport cargo. A value of time (VOT) measure is used to value TTS. â¢ Transit time savings (measured in number of days), transport cost savings, or delay reduc- tion: This category refers to the total time it takes to move from the point of origin to the destination; it is not focused on speed, but on the total time required to make the trip. Delay reduction or transport cost reductions are most relevant for modes such as rail, inland water- ways, and ports and airport improvements. Not all modes focus on quantifying and valuing time directly, as shown by the AASHTO spectrum and modal guidance documents: â Aviation modes focus on delay reduction for users (cargo, passengers, and the aircraft itself) rather than transit time per se since air cargo travel is at the extreme end of the AASHTO
Identify Benefit triggers and Metrics 37 spectrum and internalized for the use of cargo that is highly time sensitive. FAA provides guidance on the specific variables to be used for valuing the delay reduction metrics. These are based on operating cost measures per hour to reflect the VOT. â Navigation modes focus on transport cost changes because these modes are not intended to compete on time-based service quality. However, in some cases such as channel widen- ing, the USACE does consider in-port time-based measures. Since oceangoing vessels and barges (both deep and shallow draft) have typically been used for bulk cargo, USACE relies on operating cost per ton-mile to capture the value of cost reductions. â Freight rail services value both transit time and transport costs since freight rail operates at the middle of the spectrum. Unlike truck freight, a network analysis of transit distance in miles and speeds, combined with interchange time at terminals (time penalties), can result in a conceptual measure of transit time for rail. Interchange time for passenger or freight is closely linked to schedule frequency of trains (terminal dwell time). Railroads report train speeds and dwell time by type of train (intermodal, manifest, multilevel, coal, and grain units). Most Class 1 railroads offer a single trip per day. (See Intermodal Association of North America for schedules.) There are several simulation models that can be used to provide time and activity measures. â¢ Improved reliability for truck freight: This benefit results from improvements in non-incident or recurring delays and has not been typically considered in BCA, but is increasingly recog- nized as a TEE direct benefit that should be considered. The United Kingdom and earlier Strategic Highway Research Program projects identified reliability as a WEB. Now, however, substantial research and applications have made it possible to allow monetization of truck reliability as a benefit measured in terms of travel time. Reliability is also synonymous with cargo safety and reduction in damage losses. â¢ Improved reliability for rail and other modes: As a time-based concept, this benefit measure is not typically considered in BCA for rail and other modes because it relies on demonstrat- ing improvements in service quality as reflected in reduction in wait times and schedule fre- quency. The practical difficulty arises from the fact that valuation metrics of rail and other mode reliability are not readily available; neither is good data. However, in some instances, this impact has been approached as a reduction in the cost of delay. In other instances, exten- sive data are available, but they have rarely ever been used to measure reliability (e.g., the case of ports). Cost-Based â¢ Vehicle operating-cost-related benefits: These benefits include changes in fuel consumption costs and other changes in variable costs of operating equipment. The benefits are considered a separate category when operating costs are not used as the primary measure. These benefit categories can be developed from distance or time changes or changes in activity level directly. Collect and Analyze Freight Flow Data and Attributes of Major Markets This effort varies across project types and alternatives. Freight flows help delineate impacted industry and businesses for stakeholder-related distributional analysis for the markets or O-D pairs served by the facility. The freight data also help to understand the commodity profiles. Some or most of this data are also useful in subsequent analytical steps for benefit quantification. In most cases the following project information is required at a minimum: â¢ Volume of freight flows by mode for the markets (or O-D pairs) in the impact area. â¢ Direction of freight flows. â¢ Inventory profile of commodities (or freight flows by commodity type characterized by value and weight). Equipment type can be collected as a proxy for commodity type (following the AASHTO spectrum, intermodal, carload, truckload, less than truckload, and bulk movements).
38 Guide for Conducting Benefit-Cost Analyses of Multimodal, Multijurisdictional Freight Corridor Investments â¢ Separation of flows by trip origin, trip destination, and through travel, if possible. â¢ Directness (or circuity of travel). â¢ Baseline conditions of service. Port- and airport-related projects may need: â¢ Cargo served. â¢ Port or airport or terminals served (service area). â¢ O-D routing, delays, and/or distances. â¢ Transit times and in-port times, and delay at airport and flight times for airports. â¢ Vessel or cargo fleet physical characteristics such as deadweight class, vessel or aircraft type, class of service, and capacities. â¢ Vessel or aircraft cargo traffic and transit information. â¢ Waterway-, airport-, or runway-related characteristics applicable to the project. â¢ Other data to support operating cost assessments by vessel or aircraft type. 4.3 Inputs: Recommended Tools and Data Sources A number of tools can assist the analyst with identifying benefit triggers, metrics, and stakeholders: â¢ See Step 1 data sources for tools that help identify corridors and modal interaction points. â¢ Modal commodity flow databases: â FAF flow database and network database. FAF provides data on 131 domestic zones, eight domestic modes (truck, rail, water, air, multiple modes and mail, pipeline, other and unknown, and no domestic mode), and trade with eight international regions for 43 commodity classes (two-digit Standard Classification of Transported Goods codes). The multiple modes and mail category includes truck-rail, truck-water, and rail-water inter- modal shipments involving one or more end-to-end transfers of cargo between two different modes. â Waterborne Commerce Statistics for marine projects. â Surface Transportation Board (STB) Public Use Carload Waybill Sample for rail flows between Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) zones. â Statewide and regional models for truck flows. â Commodity flow models as available for understanding existing flows and refining the impact area for BCA for state and multistate projects. â Roadway inventories (network layers maintained by state departments of transportation). â Private databases such as Global Insightâs Transearch. â IHS Global Trade Atlas (https://www.ihs.com/products/maritime-global-trade-atlas.html). â Confidential Waybill data which require permission from State Departments of Transportation. 4.4 Best Practices and Examples Best practices for Step 4: â¢ Link benefit identification to project goals and motivations (i.e., improve capacity, and accom- modate new growth, congestion reduction, and accompanying improvements, which could include safety improvements such as grade separations, new capacity by mode, or operational improvements). The benefit identification process leads to a compilation of key benefit categories or expected effects. â¢ Catalog benefits that can be quantified and monetized, quantifiable but hard to monetize, and other benefits that can only be described qualitatively.
Identify Benefit triggers and Metrics 39 When a project or alternative will not (or is not expected to) lead to diversion of flows, the analysis focuses on existing and generated users and benefits to them. Most projects, however, and especially new facilities will create diversion. Example 1 (Specific Benefit Consideration in Guidance): FAA guidance, for instance, is cur- rently among the most comprehensive in its consideration of impacts to shippers and freight delays. It includes three metrics for delay reduction and one for predictability: â¢ Reduced units of express cargo arriving/departing from the airport after the time required to make the guaranteed delivery time. â¢ Reduced air freightâton delay hours by airside, landside, and terminal side. â¢ Reduced truck delay hours in landside access. â¢ For predictability, a reduced number of aircraft crew required to accommodate posted sched- ules, which are then quantified in terms of reduced operating costs. Note: This guidance specifies both time- and cost-based metrics. In other words, a project can potentially include all these metrics when applicable without double counting. Example 2: Freight planning in some regions adopts the BCA benefit categories themselves as planning goals. The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning area, for example, developed the âGo to 2040â freight plan by adopting the core BCA benefit categories as core freight plan- ning principles/goals. This process undertook many of the same steps, mapping activities, and stakeholder analysis discussed in this section. This process was used to motivate the discussion of the CREATE Regional Rail System improvements as part of the plan. 4.5 Common Mistakes Common mistakes occur when the project team: â¢ Fails to align the economic benefits considered in the BCA with the specific objectives of the project. â¢ Includes too many or irrelevant criteria in the BCA (which could lead to double counting). â¢ Fails to understand if a project is really a candidate for considering the full range of indirect effects and if the conventional BCA with externalities is sufficient. â¢ Does not pay careful attention to operating costârelated benefits and cost changes considered on the cost side. This can lead to redundancy. Example: Fuel cost savings are included as a benefit, in which case they can be specifically modeled as a benefit, but care should be taken to not include fuel costs as an operating expense on the project cost.