Transport for NSW Cost-Benefit Analysis Guide


The Transport for NSW Cost-Benefit Analysis Guide (formerly Principles and Guidelines: Economic Appraisal of Transport Investments and Initiatives) provides a consistent, best-practice framework to help the NSW Transport cluster conduct cost-benefit analysis (CBA). The target audience for this document is management, senior project representatives and project teams. This document is not targeted towards experienced CBA practitioners − who may find themselves familiar with much of its content. 

Key recommendations for the CBA practitioner can be found throughout this document in bold text for ease of use.


Customers are at the centre of everything we do at Transport for NSW (TfNSW). We’re delivering the largest transport infrastructure program this nation has ever seen − $55.6 billion of investment over four years to 2022-23 for game-changing projects like Sydney Metro, light rail, motorways and road upgrades.1  The investment decisions we make today will deliver benefits to the community for decades to come. 

When making investments for the people of NSW we need to use an evidence based approach which considers all costs and benefits. Cost benefit analysis (CBA) does exactly that. It balances a complex set of community considerations against limited resources and is the government’s key tool for promoting value-for-money decision making. 

The Transport for NSW Cost-Benefit Analysis Guide (Guide) sets out the principles, concepts, methodology and procedures to use when conducting CBA for NSW Transport cluster initiatives. Importantly, the Guide steps through a robust framework for decision making, as well as how to organise and present the evidence that supports them. It is supported by a suite of products including user friendly models and recommended economic parameter values. 

The Guide aligns project evaluation to Future Transport Strategy outcomes, promoting their consideration from project conception. The use of this guide is encouraged to ensure we consistently put value-for-money and outcomes for the community at the centre of our expenditure decisions.

The Guide is being continuously improved. Values are updated annually and methods periodically reviewed. We welcome all feedback that can help us improve this document. Please direct this to the TfNSW Evaluation and Economic Advisory team at: EconomicAdvisory@transport.nsw.gov.au

1NSW Treasury 2019-20 Budget Paper, Chapter 5


Feedback or questions regarding the Guide should be directed to the Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Evaluation and Economic Advisory team at: EconomicAdvisory@transport.nsw.gov.au