Step 3: Options generation and assessment

At a glance

  • Step 3 of the Framework provides guidance on generating and assessing options to address the problems/opportunities identified and prioritised in Step 2.
  • The purpose of this step is to:
    • Generate a full range of non-capital and capital investment options that consider supply and demand factors, to be assessed against a suitable Base Case (do-minimum)
    • Narrow down a long list of possible options to a preferred option, using a three–tiered assessment process: Strategic Merit Test (SMT), rapid appraisal and detailed appraisal.
  • Recommended tools are provided for each tier of the options assessment process.
  • This step should result in the selection of a preferred option (or package of options) that is supported by a rich set of information about its impacts, benefits and costs.
  • Information about relationships between an option and proposals elsewhere in the network (independence, complementarity, substitutability) need to be explicitly recognised when assessing an option, and clearly explained and presented to decision-makers.