1. Context and introduction

The concept of ‘wider economic benefits’ (WEBs) is relatively new to the practice of transport appraisal in Australia. It has been primarily introduced into Australian practice in a restricted manner by Infrastructure Australia (IA, 2014). The guidance presented here is introductory, and in line with the approach to use of WEBs adopted by IA.

The ATAP Guidelines on options assessment and cost-benefit analysis provide the primary framework in which to assess the economic costs and benefits of all transport initiatives. The main area of departure in some circumstances is taking into consideration what have been referred to as 'wider economic benefits' (WEBs) of initiatives, such as agglomeration effects.

WEBs are improvements in economic welfare that are acknowledged, but that have not been typically captured, in traditional CBA. Importantly, WEBs are not the same as the economic impacts determined by CGE (computable general equilibrium) or input–output models. It is also important not to include in WEBs secondary impacts that do not increase net benefits from an initiative or double count benefits already captured in the CBA or the accepted WEBs discussed below.