7. Key terms

The ATAP Guidelines contain a Glossary of terms used. The following box identifies some important terminology from the outset.

  • Outcome: The state or condition of a system or sub-system (e.g. level of economic activity; the level of climate change; average travel speed across a network or corridor; number of fatalities from road crashes; the level of noise alongside a particular road).
  • Goal: Goals are statements that describe the fundamental economic, social and environmental outcomes that a jurisdiction is aiming to achieve through its activities across all sectors (not just transport). Goals sit above objectives, and above transport.
  • Objective: Objectives are specific statements of outcomes that a jurisdiction is aiming to achieve through its transport system. Achieving transport system objectives should be the primary aim of transport strategies, policies, plans and initiatives. Objectives should be set across the various levels of planning (city, region, network, corridor, area, route, link). They should be consistent and integrated with each other, and with the transport system objectives.
  • Problem: A problem is any aspect of transport system performance where the actual economic, social or environmental outcome falls short of the desired outcome. Problems prevent the achievement of goals and objectives. Priority problems should be identified, described and thoroughly assessed. A good understanding of a problem is necessary before the best solution to the problem can be identified.
  • Option: An option is one of a range of ways that a problem can be addressed. Options can involve both land use and transport. They can include reform/non-investment options and investment/infrastructure options. The process of identifying a preferred solution to a problem should commence with the identification of a wide range of options, which are then subjected to rigorous assessment.
  • Solution: A solution is an option that solves an identified problem. The preferred solution is the option considered best overall.
  • Initiative: An initiative consists of the preferred option/solution to an identified problem. It should be the result of a structured process of identifying and assessing a problem, confirming that addressing the problem is a priority, and a rigorous assessment of a wide range of options.
  • System planning: System planning is the strategic planning process for the entire transport system and its components. It must feature integration between transport and land use, and consistency and integration across planning levels (jurisdiction(s), markets, city and region, network, corridor and area, route and link).

Assessment, appraisal, evaluation

These terms are often used interchangeably to mean the determination of the overall merits and impacts of an initiative. In these Guidelines, these terms are used as follows:

  • Assessment: a generic term referring to quantitative and qualitative analysis of data to produce information to aid decision-making. The term analysis is taken to have the same meaning.
  • Appraisal: the process of determining the impacts and overall merit of a proposed initiative, including the presentation of relevant information for consideration by the decision-maker.
  • Evaluation: the specific process of reviewing the results and performance of an initiative after it has been delivered.