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Cost-Benefit-Analysis for Road Investment Projects (VSS2000/342)

Switzerland Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
Project website
STRIA Roadmaps
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport



The aim is to lay the foundations for a standardized cost-benefit-analysis (CBA) for future road investment projects and to build a basis for major norms of the VSS. To reach this aim some fundamental questions (for example:  What should the fundamental arrangement of a CBA look like? Which typology of projects and measures is reasonable?), and several demarcation questions must be answered (for example: Which effects should be included? How should the spatial and temporal demarcation be chosen?).


The development of foundations for major norms for the cost-benefit-analysis (CBA) for road investment projects is structured in three parts.

In part I the fundamentals are gathered: Review of the theoretical background of the CBA and of the existing literature, answers for the fundamental questions of a CBA (procedure, project definition, system of aims and indicators), guidelines for the recording of effects with a detailed discussion of quantitative traffic questions, principles for the valuation of effects, and directions for the balance-sheet of costs and benefits as well as for the interpretation of results.

In part II a workshop is planned in order to discuss and consolidate these fundamentals with traffic planners, professional associations and further interested circles. Based on the consolidated fundamentals a proposal for major norms for the CBA is worked out and supplemented by corresponding comments in part III.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Swiss Government: State Secretariat for Education and Research
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


In the project the norm which serves for evaluation of  the economic efficiency of infrastructure projects as well as that of measures and regulations of traffic policy was developed.

The norm allows a standardized and transparent application of a dynamic cost-benefit analysis. It reduces the effort to build a cost-benefit analysis for a certain project since all basic questions are already solved and since for several indicators the monetary values to be used are given in the detail norms.

The result of a cost-benefit analysis shows whether or not the realization of a certain project – as opposed to the reference case – is worthwhile from the point of view of economic efficiency, i.e. whether or not the economic benefits of the project are larger than its economic costs. Furthermore, with the help of the cost-benefit analysis several projects or projects schemes can be compared with each other and can be brought in a ranking list. This allows invest the scarce financial resources where their benefit is largest.

The project report contains the commentary to the norm. The commentary explains and gives references to the considerations which have led to the norm. In some cases the commentary makes clear why other conceivable methods have not been chosen. If necessary the commentary describes certain procedures in detail. The commentary also shows how certain important questions are answered in the evaluation methods of foreign countries. In the norm and the commentary the following important questions are settled:

• Different types of projects in cost-benefit analysis

• The general course of different steps in a cost-benefit analysis

• The reference case with which a project is compared

• spatial and temporal demarcation of a project

• Indicators to be included

• The formation of incidences (or partial balances)

• Demands for the traffic model

• Demands for the choice of the valuation method for the different indicators (the actual monetary values are given in the detail norms SN 641 821 to SN 641 828)

• Temporal and functional aggregation of the single cost-benefit components and choice of decision criteria giving the result of the cost-benefit analysis

• Necessary sensitivity analyses

• Ranking list of different projects and project schemes from the point of view of cost-benefit analysis in developing the norm national and internat


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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