The SPADE (“Assessing the added value from SPAtial DEvelopment as a factor in infrastructure planning”) project refers to the central question raised by the Conference of European Directors of Roads (CEDR) on ‘How to achieve integrated project development of infrastructure and its spatial surroundings?’ More specific, the project relates to the assessment of an integrated spatial and infrastructure development. The objective is to develop an assessment method for the added value of the integrated plans and designs, in order to get an insight in the societal relevance of collaborative planning.
The development of an assessment method for the added value is a challenging one. There are several factors that make the topic complex, such as spatial level, number of stakeholders with a different pace in their planning, different types of policy measures, and different amounts of information.
Although the challenge is complex and seems to require a complex assessment method, we think on the contrary that the National Road Authorities (NRAs) would benefit from a simple and fast method. Therefore, we will work out a practical and efficient method that is based upon existing knowledge and is robust in its answers towards finding optimal transport projects, policy measures or policy packages in a collaborative setting.
The assessment method that we will build is based on a process and a tool:
- The process comprises a description of the collaborative planning of policy measures, in which stakeholders from different backgrounds, with different ‘wish lists’ and different planning procedures need to work together.
- The tool is a combination of a digital workshop and an assessment tool. The assessment tool has been developed for Rijkswaterstaat (NL) and combines a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) with a cost-benefit analysis (CBA).
The assessment method can be used at different stages in the collaborative planning process. At the beginning of the process, when the amount of data and information is limited, the method works mainly with a MCA. Along the process or policy cycle, when more information becomes available, it is possible to add CBA information.
The digital workshop ensures a fast, cost-efficient and simple way to assess different policy measures. In a short time span, a first insight can be retrieved in the quality of policy measures, infrastructure projects or spatial developments. The combination is an important innovation that improves the assessment and the discussion amongst the stakeholders.
The digital workshop in combination with the assessment tool is part of the integrated assessment method. A major benefit for the NRAs is that the method will stimulate discussions and exchange of information between different stakeholders at different spatial levels, both at the side of infrastructure providers and infrastructure users.
The assessment method goes beyond a plain CBA and offers more insights in the qualitative aspects that are often not taken into account in the analysis of projects or policy measures.
The expected results of the project are:
- An assessment method as a process, that leads to more and faster exchange of information and a better understanding amongst different stakeholders, both suppliers (such as NRAs and municipalities) and users (such as transport providers) through moderated workshops and further innovative digital participation tools.
- An assessment method content-wise, that will be able to support collaborative planning at different levels, with a selection of policy measures that might be chosen as the best solution by different stakeholders.
- The developed method will be tested in three different cases (both urban and rural), which will show its practical effectiveness.
The expected benefits of the assessment method to the NRAs are:
- A method which is cost-efficient and fast.
- A method which is not as rigid as a standard cost-benefit analysis. It allows to include qualitative aspects such as social value, health or wider economic benefits.
- The method allows the inclusion of ‘wish lists’ from different stakeholders.
- The method can be used at different stages of planning and spatial development.