49 CFR Part 611, Appendix A to Part 611 - Description of Measures Used for Project Evaluation

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View PDF at GPO Pt. 611, App. A
Appendix A to Part 611—Description of Measures Used for Project Evaluation.
Project Justification
FTA will use several measures to evaluate candidate new starts projects according to the criteria established by 49 U.S.C. 5309(e)(1)(B). These measures have been developed according to the considerations identified at 49 U.S.C. 5309(e)(3) (“Project Justification”), consistent with Executive Order 12893. From time to time, FTA has published technical guidance on the application of these measures, and the agency expects it will continue to do so. Moreover, FTA may well choose to amend these measures, pending the results of ongoing studies regarding transit benefit evaluation methods. The first four criteria listed below assess the benefits of a proposed new start project by comparing the project to the baseline alternative. Therefore, the baseline alternative must be defined so that comparisons with the new start project isolate the costs and benefits of the major transit investment. At a minimum, the baseline alternative must include in the project corridor all reasonable cost-effective transit improvements short of investment in the new start project. Depending on the circumstances and through prior agreement with FTA, the baseline alternative can be defined appropriately in one of three ways. First, where the adopted financially constrained regional transportation plan includes within the corridor all reasonable cost-effective transit improvements short of the new start project, a no-build alternative that includes those improvements may serve as the baseline. Second, where additional cost-effective transit improvements can be made beyond those provided by the adopted plan, the baseline will add those cost-effective transit improvements. Third, where the proposed new start project is part of a multimodal alternative that includes major highway components, the baseline alternative will be the preferred multimodal alternative without the new start project and associated transit services. Prior to submittal of a request to enter preliminary engineering for the new start project, grantees must obtain FTA approval of the definition of the baseline alternative. Consistent with the requirement that differences between the new start project and the baseline alternative measure only the benefits and costs of the project itself, planning factors external to the new start project and its supporting bus service must be the same for both the baseline and new start project alternatives. Consequently, the highway and transit networks defined for the analysis must be the same outside the corridor for which the new start project is proposed. Further, policies affecting travel demand and travel costs, such as land use, transit fares and parking costs, must be applied consistently to both the baseline alternative and the new start project alternative. The fifth criterion, “existing land use, transit supportive land use policies, and future patterns,” reflects the importance of transit-supportive local land use and related conditions and policies as an indicator of ultimate project success.
(a) Mobility Improvements.
(1) The aggregate travel time savings in the forecast year anticipated from the new start project compared to the baseline alternative. This measure sums the travel time savings accruing to travelers projected to use transit in the baseline alternative, travelers projected to shift to transit because of the new start project, and non-transit users in the new start project who would benefit from reduced traffic congestion.
(i) After September 1, 2001, FTA will employ a revised measure of travel benefits accruing to travelers.
(ii) The revised measure will be based on a multi-modal measure of perceived travel times faced by all users of the transportation system.
(2) The absolute number of existing low income households located within 1/2-mile of boarding points associated with the proposed system increment.
(3) The absolute number of existing jobs within 1/2-mile of boarding points associated with the proposed system increment.
(b) Environmental Benefits.
(1) The forecast change in criteria pollutant emissions and in greenhouse gas emissions, ascribable to the proposed new investment, calculated in terms of annual tons for each criteria pollutant or gas (forecast year), compared to the baseline alternative;
(2) The forecast net change per year (forecast year) in the regional consumption of energy, ascribable to the proposed new investment, expressed in British Thermal Units (BTU), compared to the baseline alternative; and
(3) Current Environmental Protection Agency designations for the region's compliance with National Ambient Air Quality Standards.
(c) Operating Efficiencies. The forecast change in operating cost per passenger-mile (forecast year), for the entire transit system. The new start will be compared to the baseline alternative.
(d) Transportation System User Benefits (Cost-Effectiveness).
(1) The cost effectiveness of a proposed project shall be evaluated according to a measure of transportation system user benefits, based on a multimodal measure of perceived travel times faced by all users of the transportation system, for the forecast year, divided by the incremental cost of the proposed project. Incremental costs and benefits will be calculated as the differences between the proposed new start and the baseline alternative.
(2) Until the effective date of the transportation system user benefits measure of cost effectiveness, cost effectiveness will be computed as the incremental costs of the proposed project divided by its incremental transit ridership, as compared to the baseline alternative.
(i) Costs include the forecast annualized capital and annual operating costs of the entire transit system.
(ii) Ridership includes forecast total annual ridership on the entire transit system, excluding transfers.
(e) Existing land use, transit supportive land use policies, and future patterns. Existing land use, transit-supportive land use policies, and future patterns shall be rated by evaluating existing conditions in the corridor and the degree to which local land use policies are likely to foster transit supportive land use, measured in terms of the kinds of policies in place, and the commitment to these policies. The following factors will form the basis for this evaluation:
(1) Existing land use;
(2) Impact of proposed new starts project on land use;
(3) Growth-management policies;
(4) Transit-supportive corridor policies;
(5) Supportive zoning regulations near transit stations;
(6) Tools to implement land use policies;
(7) The performance of land use policies; and
(8) Existing and planned pedestrian facilities, including access for persons with disabilities.
(f) Other factors. Other factors that will be considered when evaluating projects for funding commitments include, but are not limited to:
(1) Multimodal emphasis of the locally preferred investment strategy, including the proposed new start as one element;
(2) Environmental justice considerations and equity issues,
(3) Opportunities for increased access to employment for low income persons, and Welfare-to-Work initiatives;
(4) Livable Communities initiatives and local economic activities;
(5) Consideration of alternative land use development scenarios in local evaluation and decision making for the locally preferred transit investment decision;
(6) Consideration of innovative financing, procurement, and construction techniques, including design-build turnkey applications; and
(7) Additional factors relevant to local and national priorities and to the success of the project, such as Empowerment Zones, Brownfields, and FTA's Bus Rapid Transit Demonstration Program.
Local Financial Commitment
FTA will use the following measures to evaluate the local financial commitment to a proposed project:
(a) The proposed share of project capital costs to be met using funds from sources other than the 49 U.S.C. 5309 new starts program, including both the local match required by Federal law and any additional capital funding (“overmatch”). Consideration will be given to:
(i) The use of innovative financing techniques, as described in the May 9, 1995, Federal Register notice on FTA's Innovative Financing Initiative (60 FR 24682);
(ii) The use of “flexible funds” as provided under the CMAQ and STP programs;
(iii) The degree to which alternatives analysis and preliminary engineering activities were carried out without funding from the § 5309 new starts program; and
(iv) The actual percentage of the cost of recently-completed or simultaneously undertaken fixed guideway systems and extensions that are related to the proposed project under review, from sources other than the section 5309 new starts program (FTA's intent is to recognize that a region's local financial commitment to fixed guideway systems and extensions may not be limited to a single project).
(b) The stability and reliability of the proposed capital financing plan, according to:
(i) The stability, reliability, and level of commitment of each proposed source of local match, including inter-governmental grants, tax sources, and debt obligations, with an emphasis on availability within the project development timetable;
(ii) Whether adequate provisions have been made to cover unanticipated cost overruns and funding shortfalls; and
(iii) Whether adequate provisions have been made to fund the capital needs of the entire transit system as planned, including key station plans as required under 49 CFR 37.47 and 37.51, over a 20-year planning horizon period.
(c) The stability and reliability of the proposed operating financing plan to fund operation of the entire transit system as planned over a 20-year planning horizon.

Title 49 published on 2014-10-01

no entries appear in the Federal Register after this date.