Quantifying the Benefits from a Major Infrastructure Improvement: The Case of Thessaloniki Western Ring Road Upgrade to Eliminate at Grade Signalised Intersections

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Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece and its transportation system (development and operation) is hampered by the city’s geographical position and surrounding relief. Specifically, the city has been developed and expanded through the years along the coastline, the sea boundary on the southwest, and a second physical boundary, a forest, on the east side. The Thessaloniki Ring Road (divided in western and eastern part) was constructed in the early ‘90s, in order to relief the road network of the city centre from the transit traffic and confront the gradually increasing congestion. The absence of alternatives other than road transport and the increase of car ownership over the years led to an increase of motorized traffic. So even that this Ring Road had been designed to serve 30,000 vehicles daily it became to serve more than triple traffic just before the impacts of the economic crisis on transport and mobility have been made visible.

The Western Internal Ring Road of Thessaloniki (WIRRT) has length of 8.4km. It has three lanes per direction separated by a median and no emergency lanes. The traffic increase and moreover the existence of eight at grade intersections along the WIRRT degrade the provided level of service. For the elimination of these intersections an upgrade project is underway for implementation that includes the construction of five grade separated intersections and several interventions on the adjacent road network. This paper presents in brief the methodology and the results of the project’s Cost-Benefit Analysis, which assessed the expected socioeconomic benefits, emerging mainly from minimising the delays for users due to the elimination of the at grade signalised intersections.

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  • [3]. “Guide to Cost-Benefit Analysis of investment projects” European Commission Evaluation Unit DG Regional Policy Evaluation Unit 2008.

  • [4]. M. MILTIADOU for Egnatia Odos S.A.: “Cost Benefit Analysis of the Western Internal Ring Road of Thessaloniki” 2012.

  • [5]. “Working Document 4 Guidance on the Methodology for carrying out Cost-Benefit Analysis in the new Programming Period 2007-2013” European Commission DG Regional Policy 2006.

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