Evaluation of Methodologies in Benefit-Cost and Economic Impact Analyses for Freight Rail Projects Academic Article uri icon


  • Public investment in privately owned freight rail infrastructure is mutually beneficial if that investment benefits the public. Publicprivate partnerships are emerging as a viable procurement method to leverage public and private funding or financing in transportation projects to meet the mobility needs of an expanding economy. This paper summarizes the research conducted as part of a larger project to evaluate the state of the practice in methodologies that estimate the benefits generated by freight rail projects. The research examined existing research, case studies, and benefitcost analyses and economic impact analyses of implemented, approved, and proposed rail projects. Much variation was found in the approaches, definitions, techniques, and level of detail employed. The research defined and characterized projects, developed a generalized benefit classification scheme, and analyzed and evaluated data sources, methodologies, and assumptions on which quantification and monetization of projected benefits were based. The paper draws conclusions aboutand recommends improvements inapproaches and methodologies to allow more objective comparisons among projects, with a focus on the parameters underlying the calculation of benefits and performance measurement after the project is completed.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Protopapas, A., Warner, J. E., & Morgan, C. A.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Protopapas, Annie||Warner, Jeffery E||Morgan, Curtis A

publication date

  • January 2012