To help the Swiss Canton of St.Gallen process a multitude of proposals in the area of transportation planning and development, we devised a method of assessing their cost effectiveness and applied the method along with various tools to help the canton arrive at a sound prioritization.
The Canton of St.Gallen’s 17th Transportation Development Program (TDP) includes funding for various areas of transportation development, including road construction, traffic management, bike-path expansion, and enhanced pedestrian access. While the TDP does not include any specific, finalized projects, it does include a list of proposals that were submitted by various municipalities within the canton. Altogether, we assessed and prioritized 400 proposals in terms of their cost and utility.
Prioritizing a multitude of different proposals
Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced was the sheer range of different proposal types, including:
- Pedestrian traffic: sidewalks, crossings, underpasses
- Bicycle traffic: bike lanes, bike paths, truck turning assistants, bike waiting areas
- Redesigning of frequent-accident locations
- Traffic hubs: use of traffic circles or new traffic lights
- Lane expansions
- Road design and operation concepts
- Bus prioritization and railway separation
- Bus stops
Moreover, we were also tasked to complete the prioritization within four months.
Cost-effectiveness analysis as a basis for decision making
We used a cost-effectiveness analysis to arrive at our prioritization. Based on the relationship between potential utility and costs, we drafted a ranking of the proposals. The method essentially consisted of the following components:
- Use of a goal and indicator system with 15 indicators for all of the proposals
- Partially automated and GIS-based data analyses with the ascertainment of measurement parameters for each indicator
- Calculation of each proposal’s potential utility
- Drafting a cost estimate for each proposal
- Extensively automated creation of a proposal ranking
In addition to the list of the prioritized proposals, we also provided the Canton of St.Gallen with a manual and the tools necessary for making GIS and other data analyses. This will enable the Canton to apply the method and tools on its own when assessing future proposals.
Lucas Meyer de Freitas
Dr. Ralph Straumann