A benefit is defined as a good result of an action. The goal is to determine the benefits of the I-210 Pilot project for the travelers and the community of the I-210 corridor. The benefits of the Connected Corridors Pilot are determined by identifying relevant changes in corridor characteristics that resulted from the I-210 Pilot. Once these changes are identified, a dollar value is assigned to them.
Benefits are divided into broad categories:
- Transportation benefits — Reductions in transportation-related costs
- Economic impacts — Improvements in economic activity
- Community or social impacts — Intangible improvements to quality of life
For the I-210 Pilot, the focus is on travel time, vehicle operating costs, safety improvements, emission reduction, and travel time reliability. Other items such as noise reduction, savings in parking costs, and the results of induced travel will not be considered in the current AMS effort.
Economic Impacts are the effects a project has on the economy of a given area. It is measured in terms of change in sales, jobs, and taxes. Economic impacts will not be analyzed in the current AMS effort.
These are effects that a project has on the I-210 Corridor community members and which are not directly related to either transportation costs or economic impacts. They include quality of life issues related to noise, views, community cohesion, etc.
Traditionally, only transportation benefits are considered benefits when performing a standard cost/benefit analysis for transportation projects. However, stakeholders have stated that the Pilot is anticipated to provide significant community benefit as well. How to value this is subject to discussion. There is uncertainty regarding what metrics should be applied and how those metrics should be converted to dollar amounts. The Connected Corridors team recommends that assessment of community impacts be discussed further.
Note: In order to make meaningful comparisons, benefits must be calculated in a manner consistent with the cost strategies described above. For example, if one includes the costs of all ITS upgrades, then the benefits should be measured in relation to any corridor changes that result from these upgrades and not just to changes that are the result of the operation of the Decision Support System during incidents.