High Desert Intercity Rail Corridor
Benefit-Cost Analysis of Passenger Rail Alternatives
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA)
Palmdale to Apple Valley, CA
HDC Rail Rendering
SHA Analytics, LLC conducted a quantitative benefit-cost analysis (BCA) for the High Desert Intercity Rail Corridor to quantify, in monetary terms, the incremental societal benefits and costs of the proposed Project compared to a baseline where the Project is not implemented. The Project is a planned, new high-speed intercity passenger rail service from the future Brightline West station in Apple Valley to the existing Palmdale Station along the 52.23-mile-long High Desert Corridor (HDC) east-west rail alignment. It will connect existing rail services to downtown Los Angeles and the future Brightline West services to Las Vegas.
Within the BCA, SHA Analytics, LLC evaluated three alternatives based on different Project configurations and ridership forecasts. Additionally, multiple sensitivity analyses were conducted to evaluate the outcomes of the BCA due to changes in key assumptions. The benefits estimated represent the extent to which society is made better by the scenario and include estimated user benefits, air quality improvement and green house gas emission reductions benefits, safety benefits, and other externalities related to noise and congestion. These benefits were estimated using the HDC ridership scenario forecasts as well as economic values and other assumptions based on US Department of Transportation Benefit-Cost Analysis guidance and Caltrans California Life-Cycle Benefits/Cost Analysis (Cal-B/C) Model. The costs accounted for the initial capital expenditure, annual operations and maintenance, and periodic lifecycle expenditures.
The BCA results show that the HDC Project will produce direct benefits to its users as well as the broader society and that these benefits are correlated with the forecasted ridership and associated VMT reduction.