1. Context and introduction

The issue of productivity is a major focus in discussions about short and long term outlooks for the Australian economy. Transport infrastructure is seen as being an important contributor to national productivity.

In 2012, the NSW Government proposed the concept of ‘productivity metrics’ as a tool for measuring the productivity impacts of individual transport initiatives. This section of the ATAP Guidelines explains the concept, discusses its role in the assessment and appraisal process, and proposes some specific metrics practitioners can use.

It is critical to observe from the outset that the merits of a transport initiative are fully captured by a good assessment and appraisal process, with a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) (including non-monetised benefits and costs) as the centrepiece, all presented in a sound business case. The ATAP Framework is underpinned by this philosophy, and provides guidance on the various steps and techniques.

In this context, productivity metrics can be seen as:

  • An additional layer of information in the business case to aid decision makers, complementing the core CBA results, but sharpening the focus on the productivity effects of transport initiatives
  • Providing a robust and systematic methodology for considering the potential productivity gains associated with initiatives, and
  • Enabling decision makers to understand and compare the productivity benefits of alternative options and initiatives.