Are CBA Results Robust?: Experiences from the Swedish Transport Investment Plan, 2010-2021

Mattias Lundberg
Jonas Eliasson

The use of Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) as a tool for choosing between suggested transport investments is often questioned. Many argue that the results completely rest on what assumptions are made. This paper studies whether this is true for two sorts of assumptions; climate policy assumptions and benefit valuations. First, we study how much the CBA ranking is affected by varying the relative weight of different types of benefits. The valuation of travel time, traffic safety, emissions and freight benefits are systematically varied for 480 suggested road and rail investments in the latest Swedish transport investment plan. The conclusion is that the ranking is surprisingly stable. The balance between road and rail is also robust. Second, we vary the relative weights within a benefit type by differentiating the value of time. This exercise has an even smaller effect on ranking. Last, scenario assumptions relating to future climate policy options are altered. Even rather drastic assumptions, such as a doubled oil price, change the benefits with only a few percent and the rankings are hardly affected at all. The exception seems to be car ownership. In conclusion, our study suggests that decision makers can feel secure that following the CBA methodology will lead to sound investments being prioritized. The top-ranked investments stay more or less the same in all sensitivity tests.



ICTTP 2020

ICTTP, International Conference on Traffic and Transport Psychology, is held in Gothenburg, Sweden.



Report regarding government commission on the costs of traffic to society has been submitted

Since 2013, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI) has had several government commissions to produce documentation on the costs to society caused by traffic. On 1 November 2018, the agency reported its latest commission, Samkost 3....


International standardisation efforts have many advantages

VTI participates in several international standardisation committees. The work is important because it helps to ensure that standards can be adapted to Swedish conditions and it also provides access to valuable contacts and networks.


China wants to work with the best

Through the CTS cooperation, VTI is gaining valuable research contacts with China. The country is facing major challenges in the field of road safety but also has enormous potential.


VTI participated in conference on electric roads

Systems with electrified roads are a relatively new concept and many projects have been launched in recent years. To stimulate the transfer of knowledge and collaboration, the Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads arranged its second...


ADAS&ME is tackling the interaction between people and technology

ADAS&ME is a major EU project focused on automation, the human condition and the human environment. The budget is EUR 9.6 million and VTI is the coordinator.


Users contribute to the development of train simulators

Apart from advanced driving simulators, VTI has developed several variations of train simulators which are used for training, education and research. In recent years, interest has increased drastically among major actors in the railway sector, and VTI has...