New Evaluation Methods to Assess the Public Transport Impact on Public Health
Experts from MCRIT have proposed a methodology to evaluate more explicitly the impacts on public health and the social interest of projects to improve urban and metropolitan public transport.
Conventional cost-benefit methods associate social benefits in a high percentage to users ‘ time savings (often above 80% of total social benefits). Thus, it tends to positively evaluate projects of relatively low cost when you save time to a very large number of users. Although this approach can be coherent for the interurban scope, its application in urban environments would result in the paradox of identifying as profitable investments in the reduction of sidewalks, squares and parks to expand the lanes of circulation.
The proposed method aims to incorporate a more adjusted valuation of the social benefits deriving from the improvement of public health and social conviviality in urban areas, in accordance with the social values that express current policies.
The work takes as a reference the work of ISGLOBAL and IEMRB in the study of public health and conviviality, as well as the System of evaluation of transport infrastructures (DTEs 2016), and the experience of its application to the evaluation of urban transport projects, in particular the tramway of Barcelona (Barcelona City Council, 2017). During the writing, there has been a series of discussion meetings with technicians from both the ATM and the DTES, as well as ISGLOBAL, IERMB and CENIT (UPC).
Since 2019, ATM (Metropolitan Transport Authority of the Barcelona area) applies this new methodology to evaluate the projects programmed for Barcelona and its metropolitan environment (Infrastructure Master Plan, 2020-2030) with more user-centric criteria and an improved citizen and urban landscape sensitiveness.