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The influence of the use of index numbers of maintenance costs of urban public transport systems on the outcome of cost-benefit analyses

Wilbrink, Geert-Jan (2018) The influence of the use of index numbers of maintenance costs of urban public transport systems on the outcome of cost-benefit analyses.

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Abstract:In this research the influence of the use of index numbers of maintenance costs on the outcome of cost-benefit analyses (CBAs) is analysed. First the importance of maintenance costs in decisionmaking is researched. Then, an overview of maintenance costs for various types of infrastructure and vehicles is made. Next, it is tried to explain possible variations in the maintenance costs. Finally, newly estimated maintenance costs are substituted in already existing CBAs, to study its effect on the outcome of these CBAs. To research if maintenance costs are taken into account in decision-making, twelve interviews are held. The interviews are held with transport authorities, rail operators, a bus operator, municipalities, and a consultancy. Based on these interviews, it can be concluded that in general maintenance costs are taken into account in decision-making. This is mainly the case for bus vehicles, rail vehicles, and bus infrastructure, but less so for rail infrastructure. One way of including maintenance costs in decision-making, is the use of a CBA. In this study an overview of maintenance costs for five types of infrastructure and eight types of vehicles is made. This overview, which simply is an overview of index numbers of maintenance costs, includes both data of rail systems as well as of bus systems. The maintenance costs of rail infrastructure and vehicles are mostly based on documents of four Dutch urban rail systems. These documents include among others, annual plans, subsidy applications, multi-annual plans, sheets with capital expenses, and financial results. Estimations of maintenance costs for bus infrastructure and vehicles are based on the interviews. It was found that maintenance costs of both rail infrastructure and rail vehicles are much higher than maintenance costs of bus infrastructure and bus vehicles. Furthermore, metro infrastructure has much higher maintenance costs per kilometre than tram and light rail. Metro vehicles are in contrast, when looking at standardised vehicles with a length of 30 meter, slightly cheaper to maintain than tram and light rail vehicles. Some variation in maintenance costs was observed among modes, among companies, and among municipalities. Based on the data and the interviews, multiple factors are given which can explain these and other variations in maintenance costs. An example is the large variation in maintenance costs between underground and aboveground metro. The maintenance costs for underground metro can be up to eighty percent higher than the estimated average maintenance costs for metro, where costs for aboveground metro can be around ten to twenty percent lower than the estimated average. Finally, the estimated maintenance costs were substituted in CBAs, to find potential influence of the use of these index numbers on the outcome of the CBAs. It was shown that the total maintenance costs in these evaluated situations deviate from the original results, with results ranging from a decrease of 97 percent to an increase of 85 percent. Most projects, including all bus and metro projects and some light rail projects, showed a decrease in maintenance costs. These changes in maintenance costs did also result in changes in the benefit-cost ratio (b/c-ratio) of the CBAs. This effect is relativity small for light rail and metro projects, with a maximum change of 0.13. This change is much larger for bus projects, with a change of up to 1.20. However, in none of the cases a change in b/c-ratio from below 1 to above 1, or vice versa, was observed.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Mott MacDonald
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:55 traffic technology, transport technology
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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