The increased road length means an increase in costs. Assume that land purchase, planning, site clearance, ground works, building materials and plant rental are all increased by 25% over Option 1 costs. Also assume that a further 20 workers will be required for construction, and that ongoing maintenance costs will increase to $300,000 per annum

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The increased road length means an increase in costs. Assume that land purchase, planning, site clearance, ground works, building materials and plant rental are all increased by 25% over Option 1 costs. Also assume that a further 20 workers will be required for construction, and that ongoing maintenance costs will increase to $300,000 per annum

Scenario:

You are required to perform a project appraisal of two options for a proposed new road. The road will be a dual lane by‐pass around a town centre on the outskirts of Sydney. The project is estimated to improve journey time for commuters into Sydney and reduce congestion problems in the town. There are some concerns which have been raised by local inhabitants including the increased noise and pollution caused by the new road, and the loss of a small, but ecologically important, area of National Park as a result of one of the options. The town council and NSW State Government require an appraisal of the project accounting for time‐savings, loss of natural environment and other factors. You have been recommended to use a social discount rate of 3% for both of the options considered.

Option 1

Initial Costs

The site of the new road will need to be purchased at a cost of $5 million, and the project will need to be planned at a cost of around $250,000. Both the purchase of the land and the planning agreement must be in place before construction can begin (i.e. at year 0).

Construction is estimated to take three years. Initial construction costs estimated by the contractor, which occur in year 1, include site clearance estimated at around $750,000, and initial ground works at $2.5m. Other construction costs occur in all three years (year 1, 2, and 3) and include building materials at $3.75 million, and plant rental at $900,000. These costs have been fixed with the contractor and so remain the same for each year.

Wage costs are for 150 construction workers at $40 per hour, and a site manager at $60 per hour. Estimated staffing times are 45 hours per week all year (47 weeks) for the site manager, and 40 hours per week all year for the construction workers (47 weeks). Wages are expected to grow at an annual rate of 1%.

The other major cost incurred in the development of the road is the loss of small National Park. This should be valued in the project BCA. To do this you have been recommended to use the simple zonal travel cost method, deriving average usage figures from Table 1 below. Note there is no entry/admission cost for using the park, and that times and distances given in Table 1 relate to journeys to and from the park for each zone.

Zone Average time (hrs) Average Distance (km) Average No. of Visits Lost (per year)
A 0.5 10 50,000
B 1 40 30,000
C 2 100 13,000

Table 1: Zonal Travel Cost Data

Use the zonal travel cost methodology as set out here: http://www.cbabuilder.co.uk/Quant4.html. The average hourly wage rate is $35, and marginal vehicle operating costs are $0.30 per km.

Ongoing Costs

There is a significant maintenance cost associated with the new road estimated at $250,000 per annum. This cost will begin in year 4 following the completion of the road and is expected to grow at an estimated 1.5% per year.

Benefits

The benefits of the new road include reduced congestion and subsequent time-savings, as well as some estimated accident reduction.

Time savings per year are estimated as follows:

  • Private cars and motorcycles – 6500 hours
  • Business cars – 3000 hours
  • Light commercial vehicles – 9000 hours
  • Buses – 500
  • Trucks – 12000

Delay costs for each class of vehicle are given in Table 2.

Vehicle Type Delay cost (Dollars/hour/vehicle)
Private cars and motorcycles 32
Business cars 78
Light commercial vehicles 49
Buses 185
Trucks 63
Source: adapted from BITRE (2009) Table T6.1

Table 2: Delay Cost Data

These savings will begin in year 4 once the road is complete, and continue until the end of the BCA appraisal period (year 28).

Estimated benefits in relation to accident reduction are as follows: a reduction in the current rate of fatalities on the road by 1 per year, a reduction in serious accidents by 3 per year, a reduction in accidents causing slight injury by 50 per year, and a reduction in damage only accidents of 150 per year. Costs associated with each type of accident are given in Table 3 below. These reductions will all be made in the urban area around the town. The reductions should be included from years 4 to 28.

 
$2.67 million per fatal accident
$266,000 per accident resulting in serious injury
$14,700 per accident resulting in slight injury
$9,950 per damage only accident
Source: BITRE (2009)

Table 3: Cost per accident type

Option 2

Option 2 is differs from Option 1 in that it takes a different route and so avoids the loss of the National Park. This entails extending the length of the road by an additional 10 kms, close to a residential area.

The increased road length means an increase in costs. Assume that land purchase, planning, site clearance, ground works, building materials and plant rental are all increased by 25% over Option 1 costs. Also assume that a further 20 workers will be required for construction, and that ongoing maintenance costs will increase to $300,000 per annum.

Increased road length also increases the probability of accidents occurring. Assume that the reduction in number of accidents of different types for Option 2 are:

  • 5 for fatalities
  • 5 for serious accidents
  • 30 for slight injury
  • 100 for damage only

All other costs and benefits remain the same as for Option 1.

Questions

  1. Using the data on costs and benefits provided what is the NPV and BCR associated with Options 1 and 2 given a BCA period of twenty-eight years? (40% of marks)
  2. Which option should be chosen and why? (10% of marks)
  3. No value has been included to account for the increased noise and air pollution which will affect inhabitants close to the location of the new road. It is estimated that the average house value will decrease from its current level of $300,000 to around $250,000 as a result of the project. This will affect 150 houses close to the road in Option 1 and 500 houses in Option 2. How does this affect the outcome for both options in terms of NPV and BCR? (20% of marks)
  4. Establish which variables have the biggest impact on the outcome of the analysis using some simple sensitivity analysis. (25% of marks)

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