HEATCO’s primary objective was the development of harmonised guidelines for project assessment on EU level. This included the provision of a consistent framework for monetary valuation based on the principles of welfare economics, contributing in the long run to consistency with transport costing.
As a first step, the current project assessment practice in the EU member states was reviewed and analysed. Then, existing practice in the assessment of the value of time and congestion, accident risk reduction, health impacts and nuisances from pollutant and noise emissions, and infrastructure costs was compared to the theoretical and empirical evidence from the literature. As a key feature of HEATCO, harmonisation of guidelines was organised in a cycle process, involving representatives from member countries from the beginning of guideline development, with discussions and revision of different guideline versions. Thus, a first workshop was held in April 2005 to inform about the current practice for project assessment in the EU member states and to discuss the necessity of having harmonised guidelines and the scope and content of the guidelines. Based on the recommendations acquired in this workshop, the HEATCO consortium developed a proposal for harmonised guidelines, that were presented and discussed in a second workshop taking place in March 2006. Based on the feedback the proposed guidelines were revised and presented at the final conference on 17 May 2006.
HEATCO had a number of further objectives: stated-preference surveys were carried out in 6 countries to help fill the most significant gaps in monetary values and add knowledge on the issue of transferability and comparability of values between countries. The proposed harmonised guidelines were applied to 4 TEN transport infrastructure projects to illustrate applicability of the guidelines and the differences to existing CBA evaluations.