So what will it be like walking from Ascot Road to Watford Boys Grammar School?

One nice sunny Sunday morning in June I thought I’d try to simulate what it would be like for school children walking from Ascot Road station on the prposed new Croxley Rail Link to Watford Boys Grammar school.  Cycling the route (on the pavement) took 9 mins 43 secs (slightly longer if you include the first 30-40 seconds or so of the video which I managed to delete).  I estimate that on foot it would take at least twice that.

Now imagine this journey on a dark, cold and quite possibly wet autumn or winter’s morning (or evening)!  No wonder London Travelwatch agreed that closing Watford Met would cause hardship and insisted that LUL explored alternative options to keep a viable service running to/from the station.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to So what will it be like walking from Ascot Road to Watford Boys Grammar School?

  1. questdavid says:

    I am not sure if anyone can answer this but would appreciate views. Reading the benefits case for the Croxley Rail Link I am concerned by the very small increase in the number of trips on public transport by 2031 compared to a do nothing scenario (ie not going ahead with Croxley Rail Link).

    The number in the benefits analysis is an increase of 137,000 single trips on public transport over a year. This is only 187 return trips per day. 187 extra people using public transport each day does not seem a large number considering the investment involved. As a result of this low increase, all the benefits in the benefits case are intangible (reduction in travel time and ‘optionality’ value) which means they can only be measured through assumptions and applying monetary values to non-monetary benefits.

    I am missing something?

    • TRT says:

      No. The projections TfL have used are extremely conservative, and are regarded as a worse-case scenario. There’s no argument that the CRL will bring considerable benefits to West Watford, but the cost is also quite considerable and it’s balancing the two. The proposal was very unscientific in that it entails changing two variables at once, opening a new line and closing an old station. London Travelwatch are proposing a much more scientific approach – see what effect the new line has before closing anything else. But LUL are proposing to utilise ticket machines and gate lines from the Met to reduce the cost of facilities at the new stations. This project has really been cut-to-the-bone in order to swing the cost/benefit analysis into the ‘Go’ zone.

  2. questdavid says:

    Thanks for your response and apologies for the slow reply. Having re-read the Economic Appraisal Report dated September 2011 I can not see a reference to the estimates being worst case or extremely conservative.

    Furthermore, the analysis assumes that all the existing passengers at Watford Met move to use the Ascot Road station and the annualisation factor used to calculate passenger numbers for these has been changed (increased) from that experienced at Watford Met. This is due to fact that ’demand patterns will, in part, come to reflect that of London Overground services and of Watford High Street in particular’. This may be right but to me it would seem odd that existing Watford Met users would make more trips from the new stations than they do at the moment from Watford Met and does not seem like a very conservative assumption.

    I therefore still struggle with the benefits case – I raised the same question to our MP as well but did not get a response which dealt with the figures in the Economic assessment but rather a more general response about how much benefit the link will bring. The points I raised are below. If I have misunderstood the points in the report I would be keen to understand.

    The main benefits of the scheme are as follows (taking the words from the report):

    · Commuters and Other Users: ‘For commuter users the total present value of benefits is £41.2m. For other consumer users the total present value of benefits is £43.5m. Journey time benefits account for the majority of economic benefits for both types of user.’

    · Business Users: ‘The total present value of benefits accruing to business users is £85.8m. The majority of the user benefits are attributable to a reduction in journey times for trips, particularly from central Watford to London and other destinations. Journey time benefits account for £79.6m of benefits for the preferred option.’

    In total therefore, over £160m of the benefits are ‘journey time’ benefits, which while not to be ignored, do not necessarily generate hard cash. The calculation behind these is also extremely complicated and dependent on many assumptions.

    A further £18m of benefits relate to the ‘option and non-use value of households gaining access to public transport’. This number is small on an annual basis and is calculated at £170 per annum per household gaining access, but over 60 years on a NPV basis, it adds up to be quite significant and considerably more than the operating profit of the scheme.

    Table 4.1 in the report sets out the comparison between the ‘do minimum’ (nothing) scenario and the numbers projected under the Croxley Rail Link scheme. By 2031 the annual number of trips on public transport under the ‘do minimum’ scenario is 11,569,000 and under the Croxley Rail Link scenario is 11,706,000. This would seem a small increase (137,000) given the costs of the scheme. It is this on which the reduction in the number of car trips is based which I have often seen mentioned in reports (139,000 in 2016 falling to the 137,000 in 2031). Therefore, the Croxley Rail Link does not seem to significantly increase the use of public transport but rather move users to different public transport.

    Furthermore, the analysis assumes that the existing passengers at Watford Met move to use the Ascot Road station. As an interesting aside, the annualisation factor used to calculate passenger numbers has been changed (increased) from that experienced at Watford Met. This is due to fact that ’demand patterns will, in part, come to reflect that of London Overground services and of Watford High Street in particular’. This may be right but to me it would seem odd that existing Watford Met users would make more trips from the new stations than they do at the moment.

    Costs have been cut by £18.6m since earlier estimates. In looking at why the costs have reduced since earlier estimates for the project, there are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the allowance for risk in the project has reduced by £8.9m leaving little room for overruns and under-estimates. Secondly, third party costs (£8.6m) have been removed because they are ‘ineligible’. I am unclear as to what these were or whether they still exist but have just been removed from the analysis. However, what you can see from the detailed cost report is that many of the costs that are now more certain , such as the costs of stations or structures, have increased and this could lead you to think that other costs which are described as ’Target figure included’ may also increase in the future.

  3. questdavid says:

    Just to follow up on my comment above – were journey time benefits calculated in the same way as HS2 which per the recent Telegraph articles seems to be subject to much criticism. Given the business case hinges on these, does anyone know?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s