Guide to Calculating Mobility Management Benefits Victoria Transport Policy Institute
Consumer Impacts Consumer impacts are the direct benefits and costs to people affected by a mobility management strategy, including existing users (people who would use an alternative mode anyway), shifters (people who change their travel behavior in response to the strategy), and motorists (people who continue to drive).
When people shift travel in response to positive incentives (such as improved walking conditions or parking cash out), they must be better off overall or they would not change, even if travel by alterantive modes (walking, cycling and public transit) takes longer. Conversely, when people change behavior in response to negative incentives (such as vehicle restrictions or price increases), they are directly worse off, although their overall impacts depend on factors such as changes in congestion and accident risk, and how revenues are used. Consumer surplus analysis can be used to determine net user impacts from price changes and financial incentives (Litman, 2001). These strategies can provide additional benefits to existing users, shifters, and future society because alternative modes experience economies of scale and scope (as their use increases their unit costs decline and there is more justification for further improvements). The table below indicates direct user impacts of various mobility management strategies. It indicates that many mobility management strategies provide direct consumer benefits.
Mobility Management Consumer Impacts
Type of Strategy
Improved walking, cycling,
ridesharing, public transit, taxi, telecommunications, delivery
Policies favoring efficient modes
Shifts in transportation funding and roadway design to support alternative modes (walking, cycling, HOV, public transit).
Existing users benefit. People who shift mode may sometimes benefit and sometimes be worse off. Motorists can benefit from reductions in external costs, such as congestion, or the need to chauffeur non-drivers.
Positive financial incentives
Parking cash out, distance-based insurance and registration fees.
Existing users benefit. People who shift mode in response benefit (or they would not change). Motorists can benefit.
Higher road, parking and fuel prices.
Both people who continue to drive and those who shift mode are financially worse off, although motorists can benefit from reductions in external costs, such as congestion, and total impacts depend on how revenues are used.
Smart growth policies
More accessible, multi-modal land use development patterns.
People who prefer more accessible, multi-modal communities benefit directly. People who prefer more sparawled automobile-dependent communities may be worse off if reductions in the supply of such housing makes them unaffordable.
Existing users benefit. Shifters benefit (or they would not change). Motorists can benefit from reductions in external costs, such as congestion, or the need to chauffeur non-drivers.
This table summarizes the direct impacts of various types of mobility management strategies. In addition, reductions in automobile travel and shifts to alternative modes can provide indirect benefits such as accident and pollution emission reductions.