Britain’s cost benefit analysis failings CBA

Sophy Tayler

18 Apr 2020, 18:28 (11 days ago)

Hi All
So far what we are all doing, is pointing out the flaws to ourselves. ( we’ve done the same here in London)
Our experience in SE5, when we campaigned for our re-opening railway station was that the webtag score was the be all and end all.  Despite the opportunity to mention other value added /soft benefits.  Deeply frustrating, and in our case stopped that project in its tracks
There is an email address attached to the webtag pages – so there is the opportunity for dialogue
If we are going to get a different outcome, maybe we something of a concerted campaign to overhaul the webtag scoring system. It would help all of us to get some more sensible outcomes to potential projects across the country.
If we could agree say 5 proposed changes, and then lobby from different groups/across the country, we might achieve some change in the assessment system, rather than individually be frustrating with outcomes of the assessment relevant each of our projects.

Sophy Tayler

From: <> on behalf of Andrew Braddock <>
Sent: 17 April 2020 11:36
Subject: Costs of tram systems

Spot on, Jenny

The UK transport investment appraisal system is nonsense… in fact, it’s nonsense on stilts.

A good public transport scheme should, by definition, result in fewer car trips.

HM Treasury regards that as a disbenefit as fuel tax revenue falls.

As it is generally recognised that we have passed “peak car” there can be no benefit from any road schemes, save for those which reduce space for cars and dedicate it to tramways, cycling and walking.

French Mayors get this and I think one or two of ours do – notably Andy Street (West Midlands) and Andy Burnham (Greater Manchester) but certainly not Tim Bowles (WECA)!

I’ve copied Tim Kendell in as he’s the LRTA expert on WebTAG and what needs to replace it.

Regards to all,



From: On Behalf Of Jenny Raggett
Sent: 17 April 2020 09:23
To: Dave Andrews <>
Cc: Simon Johnston <>; <> <>; <> <>;
Subject: Re: Costs of tram systems


Hi there

Many thanks for all help.


I am at the moment looking at transport modelling in this country which it seems,  comes up with Benefit Cost ratios for road schemes that are very high indeed. WebTag for example – widely used – models a new road or dualling on the basis of continuing traffic growth over the next 60 years (!!) and the time saved for thousands and thousands of future motorists for a journey from A to B that currently has a traffic jam. A motorist’s time is money, and there are WebTag tables to cost it.


Even if the motorists manage to save only say 20 seconds each because of the new road, this cumulatively over 60 years (and given massive traffic growth predicted by the DfT) can give time savings worth hundreds of millions of pounds. The road is therfore justified. I am amazed this is methodology is still in use.


Then have been looking at new railway stations and services in the context of transport modelling and value for money, using some of the technical material supplied over the years regarding the Bristol Metro. The benefits of a new stations and services are not properly measured it seems, in the context of an overall public transport network , nor are non-monetorised benefits to society and quality of life (accessibility, carbon, air quality, traffic reduction etc, regeneration of town centres). really factored in. The cost of a driver, the train, time wasted for existing passengers as the train stops at a potential new station, all appear to be disbenefits. All very odd.


Then I tried to think about trams and light rail. How are these systems conceived, modelled and costed using the conventional government methodology – eg WebTag? How is TRICS used to look at potential journeys? Does anyone know or have any examples?


Again, thank you for info/ideas – I am new to the technical side of getting trams built, but convinced that it is just what so many places really need.


Best wishes



Transport for New Homes

From: Dave Andrews <>
Sent: 17 April 2020 07:36


Hi Giles,


Hope you’re coping with the current unusual situation….


Would you or Illy be able to respond to Jenny as well? Jenny runs a well-funded lobbying group.



Best Wishes
Dave Andrews
00 44 (0)7795 842295


On Fri, 17 Apr 2020, 07:19 Jenny Raggett, <> wrote:

Hi there

Many thanks. This is really very useful -perfect. I am learning all the time…!

Best wishes



to which I would add – variable cost of Utilities Diversion/Upgrading


On Thu, 16 Apr 2020 at 21:49, Simon Johnston

Hello all,


Comparing the cost of tramway and light rail schemes is often problematic, for a number of reasons:

  • Local conditions
  • Timing (i.e. cost of materials at a given time, international finance markets or opportunities for joint procurement)
  • Finance methodology
  • Risk profiles
  • What exactly is included within the tramway budget (i.e. urban regeneration and façade-to-façade reconstruction in some cases)
  • Particular engineering and technical challenges (tunnels, bridges, EMC mitigation etc)


Quite often, both proponents and critics are equally guilty of comparing apples with… chair legs.


However, the good news is that there has been some research undertaken in recent years to attempt to analyse UK data (where available) and compare it with data from European and US schemes.


Given all the caveats above, and from our own analysis, the UK is not necessarily hugely more expensive in terms of tramway construction than other countries.


The following is a good starting point, and also explores some of these issues in more depth:


Hope this helps.




From: <> on behalf of Dave Andrews <>
Date: Thursday, 16 April 2020 at 20:07
To: Jenny Raggett <>, “<>” <>, “<>” <>
Cc: Jim Harkins <>, Brian Lomas LRTA <>
Subject: Re: Costs of tram systems


On Thu, 16 Apr 2020, 19:54 Jim Harkins, <> wrote:



If you build in the style and methodology of line 1 Edinburgh or Metrolink Trafford Park they extremely expensive almost unaffordable for a starter line


At the other end of the scale using EAstern European traditional lean build it can be doe around £12-18M per track km.

utilities unless they actually come within 6 inches of the surface are best left. There is a quirk here in the uk that the tramway developer pays for the relocation of pipes etc up to a point where the utility owner determines. During building metrolink the gas pipes had to be renewed for several miles (Eccles) away because of disturbances in Piccadilly Gardens

There is no legislation that says utilities have to be moved if the trams are stopped and access given. The costs under the New Highways and Roads Act fall on the owner of the utilities. This was done for the recent midland metro which resulted in the utilities negotiating and a very much reduced cost

If you use the emerging methodology being used in Coventry your track costs are around £5-10M inc depot and vehicles. These figures are from UKTram

A project that I am working on at the moment, T57 Tram Project using on board Hydrogen/battery comes out around that figure

Two years ago Warrington Borough Council announced a new road bridge scheme under two mile @ £212M. For that total we could lean build a Hydrogen tramway just short of 37 miles!

There are a number of soft benefits that a tram brings which are not captured in the Cost Benefit calculation and as trams are multiple generations the capex should be spread she molar to that of bridges, motorways etc.

This would make trams very affordable

Jim Harkins



Best Wishes
Dave Andrews
00 44 (0)7795 842295


On Thu, 16 Apr 2020, 12:05 Jenny Raggett, <> wrote:

Hi all

I just wondered whether any of you had data on the cost of trams. I’ve got some figures for the Nice tram route 2 and even managed to find (in French) where the money came from to build it (see below).


But has anyone got anything similar for systems in this country or other cities abroad? I getting interested what our £27 billion roads budget would build in the way of trams/light rail, this augmented by developer funding.


I see for example that the developer contributions in the way of cumulative CIL for a single 5000 home garden village near Reading (Grazeley) is over 700 million which is quite a lot. There is money about but it goes on motorway junctions and new link roads..


Anyway info on costs very much appreciated.


Many thanks



Here is the info I have found for Nice:




Line 2, Nice (this is the tram which goes all the way out to St Augustin (was quite a rough area but now lots of new appartments and development along the new tram route in fact) and then to the airport. It’s a great new area and includes landscape pedestrian areas, tree planting, cycleways etc.


Translated into English (roughly) from the link above in French


Contracting Authority: Nice-Cote-D’Asur City Region

Total cost 721.7 million Euros (in 2013)

of which:

57.49 million came from a national fund for Investing in the Future

50 million came from the Department – Alpes-Maritimes

50 from the City of Nice

39.2 million came from the Region

6.54 million from Europe

Then 500 million was borrowed.

·         250 million from the Banque des territoires

·         250 million from the Banque européenne d’investissement : 250M€

·         The economic benefit and the benefit to society of the route chosen was 4% and on that basis a good return was expected on the borrowed money at 2%


The Banque des territoires seems to be specifically for lendingmoney for big public projects. From wiki…’mobilise 20 milliards d’euros par an pour financer les projets des collectivités et des acteurs du logement social. Elle dispose de 35 implantations locales, afin de bénéficier d’une plus grande proximité avec ses clients’.


The Banque européenne d’investissement is the lending arm of the EU.


So, such a very different financial model from here 

Best wishes


(french below)

Maîtrise d’ouvrage : Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur

Partenaires financiers : Etat (MEEDDAT), Région Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, CD 06, Europe (FEDER), Société Aéroportuaire Nice Côte d’Azur, Ville de Nice.

Projet financé  avec le soutien  du Programme  d’investissements d’avenir.

Un financement partagé :

Coût total du projet : 721,7M€ HT (valeur 2013)

Financement par subventions : 203,23M€

·         Etat – Banque  des Territoires  au titre du programme d’investissements d’avenir : 57,49M€

·         Conseil départemental des Alpes-Maritimes  : 50M€

·         Ville de Nice : 50M€

·         Région Sud : 39.2M€

·         Europe (FEDER) : 6.54M€


Financement par la SACA : 12,6M€

La société  aéroportuaire prend en charge  les frais  pour le domaine  aéroport.

Financement par l’emprunt : 500M€

·         Banque européenne d’investissement : 250M€

·         Banque des territoires : 250M€


Selon le calcul de la BEI et avec les options prises, le projet de la ligne 2 aura une rentabilité économique et sociale de 4%. La Métropole emprunte à 2% aujourd’hui pour un investissement qui va rapporter 4%.


NOTE: This email group is not an official organ of the Bath Trams Group, but an open forum for those who wish to discuss transport issues in Bath, particularily as regards the role of trams.
Do not therefore take any mail on this group as representing the view of the Bath Trams Board.

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “bathtramreintroduction” group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to
To view this discussion on the web, visit