Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill Minutes of Evidence


Examination of Witnesses (Questions 1220 - 1239)

  1220. When you did that I assume you must have produced some written document showing how you took into account the various points and reached the valued judgment you did. Am I right to reach that assumption?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes. We produced some tables of ranking in each way.

  1221. They have not found their way into any of the evidence before this Select Committee, though, have they?
  (Mr Berryman) That is true, they have not.

  1222. Tell me, was the document that you produced simply a table?
  (Mr Berryman) Yes.

  1223. Was there any other document that identified each of the issues in respect of a particular station, the pluses and the minuses, the costs and the benefits, and reached a conclusion, on the valued judgment you did, yes, you should upgrade it?
  (Mr Berryman) There was a design exercise done for every station to establish what the costs would be of putting in PRM access at all the stations, and that was done for every station on the route. That was then compared with the passenger numbers which we took as a surrogate for the total number of PRM passengers on the grounds that, generally speaking, there would be a fairly strong relationship between those two numbers. There were one or two special cases, Whitechapel is a particular one opposite the Royal London Hospital, where we felt there would be significantly more people with restricted mobility than would be the average, where we took that into account but, generally speaking, we took the total number of passengers and applied a fixed percentage to that in our assumption as to how many people would be persons of restricted mobility.

  1224. Could you answer my question, please?
  (Mr Berryman) Could you repeat the question?

  1225. Of course. When undertaking the analysis, aside from the table you described to us, was there any other document that you produced which set out the benefits and the costs in respect of any particular station, thus justifying the conclusion as to whether to upgrade it or not?
  (Mr Berryman) I cannot recall another document. There would probably have been a Board paper on it but I cannot remember a specific report being produced.

  1226. As we heard yesterday, there has not been a cost-benefit analysis that has objectively looked at each of the stations to reach an ultimate conclusion as to whether to upgrade, has there?
  (Mr Berryman) There has not been a conventional cost-benefit analysis, for the reason I explained a few moments ago and Dr Maynard explained yesterday, that in the provision of this kind of facility a conventional cost-benefit analysis invariably comes out strongly negative; in other words, you would not do it. What we have done is compared the cost of the provision with the number of passengers who may use it, using the total number of passengers in the station as a surrogate for the number of people who would benefit from this.

  1227. The outcome of the cost-benefit analysis is dependent on the weighting you give to any particular criterion you assess, is it not?
  (Mr Berryman) We do not have freedom of choice in that matter. There are guidelines set down for cost-benefit analysis, and, indeed, the general move is away from cost-benefit analysis. You are probably familiar with the New Approach to Appraisal which takes into account subjective matters, and this would be one of those that would be taken into account rather than a conventional cost-benefit analysis.

  1228. Yes, but the New Approach to Appraisal, the NATA process, takes a number weighting approach to any particular criterion that you take into account, and then you get an ultimate decision, an ultimate conclusion, as to whether the costs justify the benefits, correct?
  (Mr Berryman) That is not exactly right, but you are on the right lines. In fact, the method of appraisal that we have used is a variation of NATA called GOMMS which stands for Guidance on the appraisal of Multi Modal Studies. It is very similar to NATA and it works in a similar way. You apply very broad subjective values, and then at the end of the day you make an assessment which is not numerically evaluated but evaluated more on the strength of whether something is appropriate or not. This method of appraisal came in after the famous case involving the M3 at Twyford Down, where the cost-benefit analysis showed it was worth doing but any rational person looking at the damage which was going to be done to the landscape may have put more weight on that than the cost-benefit analysis did. The project might still have gone ahead but it was the fact that that kind of factor is not taken into account in conventional cost benefit analysis, and that is the situation here. These kinds of provisions would not be justified by conventional cost-benefit analysis; they are justified by a more subjective view of life that the aim of the railway is to be inclusive and to provide facilities for all sections of the community to use, and that is the way we approach it.

  1229. The GOMMS study you have undertaken is for Crossrail as a whole, is that right?
  (Mr Berryman) That is right.

  1230. Not for the particular upgrading we are talking about, correct?
  (Mr Berryman) That is correct.

  1231. So you did think it was appropriate for the purposes of Crossrail as a whole, but not for whether to upgrade particular stations to step-free?
  (Mr Berryman) We have used GOMMS for analysis of a number of places where there were alternatives available, but not in particular for this subject, no.

  1232. But certainly it was possible, given the approach you have just described?
  (Mr Berryman) It would be possible and one of the things in life, and engineering in particular, is that you sometimes have a process of saying, "By inspection such-and-such would not happen", and I think this would be a case in point. By inspection GOMMS analysis would not come up with a very different answer to that which was arrived at simply by dividing the number of passengers by the cost of the works.

  1233. And Dr Maynard is an expert on inclusivity, as she explained yesterday, correct?
  (Mr Berryman) She is, yes.

  1234. And you did not involve her in the decision-making process on this issue either, did you?
  (Mr Berryman) Not specifically on this detailed decision, no, but in general terms the approach we took was agreed with her, as I think she told you yesterday.

  1235. Yes, on a generic basis, but not in respect of any particular station.
  (Mr Berryman) That is correct.

  1236. But when you knew about the approach that Newham was taking, there was even then the opportunity to include her in that decision-making process, was there not?
  (Mr Berryman) Well, there would be, but at the time when Maryland was discussed I do not recall the question of PRM access ever being raised. Perhaps it was, but I cannot recall it.

  1237. You do not recall it from Newham's petition? I do not necessarily criticise you for that, but you do not know about it, or you were not told about it?
  (Mr Berryman) I have no recollection of it. It does not mean it was not there but it certainly was not prominently flagged up as a big issue that needed to be dealt with.

  1238. No doubt you have legal advisers who will tell you about important points arising from petitions.
  (Mr Berryman) Indeed we do!

  1239. Very good. Could the Select Committee take up the transcript of the Special Report before the House of Commons Volume IV, which was produced as part of the bundle by the Council yesterday, and turn, please, to paragraph 13108, Ev 1240.[28] Just to understand what you have said in answer in respect of a question by Mr Binley, Ms Skelton at 13106 says, "I have met people who find it very difficult to come down them"—that is to say the steps—"and also people with pushchairs. I think it would increase the use of the station if it was available to people. I feel fairly strongly because I am going to have my garden destroyed by the train, yet I am not going to be able to use it. That is a personal issue". Mr Mould then says, "We will be hearing from that particular Petitioner later". And Mr Binley asks, "Do you have a response?" and you answer this: "Yes, the point is a general point and that is that step-free access is a community point, there is no getting away from that. As with so many other things on this project, we have to draw the line somewhere." What I want to know, please, Mr Berryman, is what that line is. Did you accept a particular criterion or benchmark for each of those criteria that had been set out in Information Paper E5, or not?

  (Mr Berryman) We did not set a particular benchmark. I think this is one of those things which is not amenable to mathematics because it depends on three or four factors. It does not just depend on the cost of the number of passengers, but also on the accessibility to other modes of transport or other stations which the potential user may have, so it is not really susceptible to a mathematical sum to say: "This is the cut-off line and we will not go beyond or below that". It is worth just mentioning the background to the New Approach to Appraisal, or as I described it, GOMMS, which arose because cost-benefit analysis based on arbitrary cut-off lines is often left to inconsistent or difficult decisions and that is what we wanted to avoid in this case. So there is a certain amount of subjectiveness involved in playing off the costs against the difficulties of access of other locations. I think I have explained to you already that Forest Gate costs as much as Manor Park to do and, in fact, probably, if we had had just had a list based purely on cost, it would have dropped out, but on Forest Gate the catchment is wide around the area and the catchment on the buses is not so good as it is at Manor Park, and that is why that particular one was included.



28   House of Commons Select Committee on the Crossrail Bill, First Special Report Session 2006-07, Crossrail Bill, HC 235-IV, paras 13106-13108 (SCN-20080227-013) Back


 
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