Profitability evaluation of intelligent transport system investments

Pekka Leviäkangas, Jukka Lähesmaa

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    64 Citations (Scopus)


    The objective of this study was to consider evaluation methods for intelligent transport system (ITS) investments, to point out some shortcomings of traditional methods (mainly benefit-cost analysis), to develop alternative methods and to make recommendations how the profitability of ITS investment should be evaluated. The results can be used when ITS investments are compared with each other and also when ITS investments are compared with road building investments. This paper identifies the fundamental differences between ITS and road infrastructure investments and how they impact on the profitability evaluation. The conclusion is that traditional cost-benefit analysis (BCA), which was developed for investments in physical infrastructure, does not capture all the benefits or costs related to ITS. Economic evaluation methods for ITS investments need improving. This paper illustrates how BCA could be used to take into consideration the option value of ITS investment and risks due, for example, to different time horizons of investments. The paper also discusses and demonstrates the use of multi-criteria analysis (MCA) in profitability evaluation. It illustrates how a method called analytical hierarchy process (AHP) could be utilised to evaluate other risks that do not have specific monetary values and to compare the results of different profitability analyses. These evaluation methods can be used within the project assessment framework in the transport sector to highlight different aspects of the profitability and efficiency of transport investments. None of the methods themselves can reflect all the aspects in decision making, but by using a suitable set of different methods depending on the decision situation, and by comparing the results, a wider and more realistic picture of investments can be obtained.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)276-286
    JournalJournal of Transportation Engineering
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2002
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • transport telematics
    • intelligent transport systems
    • investment
    • profitability
    • cost-benefit analysis
    • multi-criteria analysis


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