Australia’s transport system delivers a wide range of social and economic benefits. Maximising the contribution of the transport system requires an understanding of both strategic objectives and technical details, especially regarding the myriad benefits and costs that arise from investments and other initiatives.

Social benefit cost analysis (SBCA) is a tool to methodically compare future benefits and costs to society from a transport project or policy. The main questions we seek to understand with SBCA are:

  • Do the benefits of different transport initiatives exceed their costs?
  • How are benefits distributed across time and the community?

Our in-house Zenith models contain an economics feature, which estimates project economic benefits directly from transport modelling scenarios. A project’s future benefits can be compared to its costs to calculate conventional economic performance measures, such as a benefit cost ratio and net present value. By integrating transport models and SBCA, we can accurately and efficiently test the performance of alternative project options.

Our economists can also directly link quantitative outputs from our models to our clients’ strategic project objectives, which are subsequently documented as per federal and state reporting guidelines on transport business cases.

Our team applies their deep experience in travel forecasting and transport economics to provide third-party reviews of business cases and economic appraisal reports. Past economic analyses cover a range of major infrastructure projects, including Canberra Light Rail, West Gate Tunnel, and the Melbourne Metro. We have also undertaken integrated demand modelling and SBCA for various stages of the M1 Motorway upgrades in Southeast Queensland.