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CTA Red Line Extension Social Benefits-Social Costs Analysis

January 15, 2023

Social Benefits-Social Costs Analysis (SBSCA) of the proposed Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Red Line Extension from 95th Street to 130th Street in Chicago.  The analysis assumed planning/engineering from 2019-2024, construction from 2025-2029, passenger operations beginning in 2029, and operations of 30 years through 2058.  Sources of information were primarily the following public documents:  CTA Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), dated July 2022; CTA Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and associated appendices, dated October 2016, U.S. Department of Transportation, Benefit-Cost Guidance for Discretionary Grant Programs (U.S. DOT BCA Guidance), dated March 2022 ( TIGER Benefit-Cost Analysis Resource Guide (TIGER Guide), dated March 2016 ( Other sources are identified in these notations. All figures are in 2020 dollars. A summary table of results is at the end of this page. A more detailed summary is available here.


1.  Capital Costs:  According to the FEIS (page 9-1), the total estimated capital construction cost is $3.6B in year of expenditure (YOE) or about $3.0B (deflated 2020$) with costs incurred beginning in 2019 and construction occurring from 2025-2029. Construction costs are assumed to be about 92% of the budget. Excluded from the analysis were planning funds spent prior to 2019.

2. Operating and Maintenance (O&M) Costs:  The FEIS (page 9-5) estimated annual O&M costs at $32.7M (2020$).


3. Farm Crops Production Costs:  Not applicable.


4. Ecological Acreage Loss Costs:  A calculation is not made as much of the right of way for the Project is predominantly within or adjacent to existing expressways and a rail line. Further, it is assumed that projected wetland losses will be fully mitigated. Ecological losses due to induced development were not calculated due to a lack of credible information.


5.  Vehicle Miles Traveled:  Chicago urbanized area population was estimated for 2020 based upon the 2010 Census population of 8,608,208 and the 3.6% increase from 2000-2010.  A 0.36% annual increase was assumed.   Annual vehicle miles traveled data (AVMT) was derived from the IDOT Eisenhower Expressway Reconstruction Expansion DEIS 2040 estimates.  This was included for informational purposes only as the data has no practical application for the CTA RLE SBSCA. According to Appendix W of the RLE DEIS (page 1-1), the estimated reduction in regional vehicle miles traveled (VMT) for the build alternatives ranges from 11.4 to 19.6 million. Incremental increases over time were assumed accordingly. The per mile operating costs of average sedans, SUVs, and minivans assumed is $0.64 @15,000 annual miles based on AAA's Your Driving Costs (2020).  The variable rate (non-fixed) of this cost assumed was $0.2844 (2020$).  Per the DEIS (page 9-8), annual reductions of CTA bus miles due to the Project are expected in the amount of 276,451. According to the National Transit Database, 2020 National Transit Profile Summary, average operating expenses for buses per vehicle revenue mile were $12.64 in 2020$.


5a.  Productivity Increase:  According to the DEIS (page 9-8), the Project will add 5,489,502 train car miles annually. Average train length assumed is 6 cars. Thus, annual train miles added is 914,917.  Train passengers that otherwise would have driven a car have the potential to increase productivity.  An assumption was made that reduced VMT was based on an average of 10 miles per trip, 1.67 persons per car (U.S. DOT BCA Guidance P. 37, Table A-4), these drivers opt to ride the train, and 20% of them opt to work 1/2 hour on each train trip.  According to the TIGER Guide (Page 36, Table A-3) the value of time for commuters is $16.20  (2020 $).


6. Noise:  The TRB Transportation Benefit-Cost Analysis web site provides noise impact values per VMT for vehicles from several studies [, referencing: Todd Litman (2010), "Noise," Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (, available at].  Dollar values for noise impacts in these cited studies show the following per VMT (converted to 2020 $):  buses (electric & diesel, $0.04-$0.07 or mid-level 0.055); and auto (electric & gas/diesel, $0.004 and $0.10 or mid-level $0.05). Additionally, in the VTPI document, the following study was cited which includes values for passenger train noise:  M. Maibach, et al. (2008), Handbook on Estimation of External Cost in the Transport Sector, CE Delft ( Table 22 p 69.  The average proportion noise values for cars (day, night, urban, suburban, rural) in this study were compared to the same for passenger trains.  The latter monetized value is about 65 times that of automobiles.  Consequently, $0.05 (value used for autos) X 65 was used to determine an estimated value of $3.25 (2020 $) for passenger train noise per mile. 


7. through 10. The following sources were consulted for NOx, PM10, PM2.5, and VOC emission rates per VMT: 

- U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics via U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Table 4-43:  Estimated National Average Vehicle Emissions Rates per Vehicle by Vehicle Type using Gasoline and Diesel (grams per mile using 2029 estimates for NOX and PM2.5 ( respective gram per mile values of 0.063 and 0.103 for auto/light truck averaged; PM2.5 for auto exhaust, brakewear, & tirewear of 0.004, 0.003, and 0.001 and for light trucks 0.005, 0.003, and 0.001 (average by vehicle type); NOX bus of 2.396 and for PM2.5 the sum of 0.029, 0.009, and 0.003 for respective exhaust, brakewear and tires.

- Average Annual Emissions and Fuel Consumption for Gasoline-Fueled Passenger Cars and Light Trucks, U.S. EPA, Office of Transportation and Air Quality, April 2008 (AAE) ( USED);

- Average In-use Emissions for Heavy-Duty Trucks ( VOC only 0.447 gram/mile or 0.000000447 MT/mile)(NOT USED);

- DEIS, Appendix W, CTA BTU per revenue train car mile (RVM) is 26,785 or 7.85 per KwH.

- Deru & Torcellini (page 8, Table 3, 2007): Rail emissions of NOX (0.00000125 MT/KwH); PM2.5: (0.0000000416 MT/KwH);

- Energy Information Administration, Illinois Profile ( analysis shows 24% of electrical supply is by coal and 12% by natural gas or 36% from non-renewables.

- The State of Illinois is committed to reducing municipal electricity emissions from coal and natural gas to zero by 2045. Thus, the rate of electricity generated for CTA trains was reduced to zero in 2045 incrementally from 36% in 2029.

- U.S. DOT BCA Guidance, Table A-6: Damage Costs for Emissions per Metric Ton (MT):  CO2 ranges from $61 in 2029 to $94 in 2058; NOX $48,200 in 2029 and $49,100 thereafter; PM2.5 $854,000 and $867,600 thereafter (the values were not used for PM10 per the guidance).

7. CO2:  According to the DEIS, Appendix U, Table 5-3, the UPRR Alternative will reduce CO2 emissions from the no-build alternative by 12,152 tons per year which equates to 11,024 metric tons (MT). Social cost of carbon (SCC) values were obtained from the U.S. DOT BCA Guidance. The data was then multiplied for each year by the social cost of carbon (SCC) values. Per the guidance, the CO2 values were only discounted at the 3 percent rate but also used in the 5 and 7 percent benefit columns as disbenefits. It was assumed the analysis accounted for changes in all modes. Thus, additional breakdowns by mode were not performed.

8. NOx:  Per the U.S.DOT BCA Guidance, the value is $17,700 (MT) in 2028 and then $18,100 thereafter. 


9. PM2.5:  Per the U.S.DOT BCA Guidance, the value is $854,000 (MT) in 2028 and then $867,600 thereafter. Also per the U.S.DOT BCA Guidance, a value was not calculated for PM10. 

10. VOC:  The value of $2,032 (MT)(2015 $) per the TIGER Guide was adjusted to $2,228 (MT(2020 $). 


11. Resource Consumption Costs:  These are external costs of transport resource production (primarily petroleum) or the social benefits of resource conservation.  These include military security costs for foreign oil, trade deficits from its import, environmental damages from oil extraction, oil company tax subsidies, and human health risks from injuries and pollution during extraction.  Depletion of non-renewable resources for future generations is an externality as well although it is not costed. See the VTPI Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis II - Resource Consumption External Costs (  The VTPI, Transportation Cost Analysis Spreadsheet has default cost values per VMT as follows in 2007 $ for average travel:  average car $0.039 ($0.048 in 2020 $); light truck/van $0.050 ($0.062 in 2020 $).  Based on the DEIS, Appendix W, a calculation was not made as changes in energy usage due to the Project are less than the margin of error. 


12. Parking Costs:  The VTPI, Transportation Cost Analysis Spreadsheet has default parking cost values per VMT as follows in 2007 $ for average travel:  car/pickup/van $0.064 ($0.079 2020 $) (internal); $0.060 ($0.074 2020 $)(external) for a total of $0.124 ($0.154 in 2020 $).  Internal costs are paid directly by users for residential parking while external costs are off-street parking paid by non-users through increased bundled goods costs and services that includes free/reduced cost parking.  The Project does not affect residential parking.  There could be some potential benefit in external parking due to passengers arriving at their destination and not needing parking.  However, this could be completely offset by station parking lots where passengers board trains.  Therefore, no benefit or cost was assigned. 


13. Health Costs:  The VTPI Spreadsheet has default health cost values per VMT as follows in 2007 $ for average reductions as follows:  walking:  $0.24 (internal)($0.2972 2020 $); $0.24 (external)($0.2972 2020 $); bicycling $0.095 (internal)($0.1176 2020 $); $0.095 (external)($0.1176 2020 $).  Internal cost reduction is reflected through extended lives and reduced mortality rates. External cost reduction is shown through reduced hospital and health care costs. One-half of the benefits are assigned to walking and one-half to bicycling for both internal and external. Benefits only relate to changes in VMT equal to the assumed distance drivers and their passengers convert to walking or bicycling to and from the RLE. Thus, it was assumed 10 auto-driven passenger miles equates to 10 RLE passenger miles plus 1/2 mile walking or bicycling to a station and 1/2 mile walking or bicycling from a station. 


14. Barrier Effects:  These are delay costs to non-motorized travel caused by motorized travel.  See the VTPI Transportation Cost and Benefit Analysis II - Barrier Effect publication (  The VTPI, Transportation Cost Analysis Spreadsheet has default barrier effect cost values per VMT as follows in 2007 $ for average travel:  car/pickup/van $0.014 ($0.0173 in 2020 $) and diesel bus $0.023 ($0.0285 in 2020 $).  It was assumed that diesel buses and heavy trucks have the same values.  The VMT reduction was multiplied by these values accordingly. 


15. Transport Diversity:  According to the VTPI Transportation Cost Analysis Spreadsheet, the value per VMT for transportation diversity is $0.007 in 2007 $ ($0.00867 in 2020 $). This represents the benefits of improving transportation options brought about by the Project that reduces overall transportation costs for the public. Additionally, the value measures the extent disadvantaged populations (elderly, low income, minority) are unable to travel due to increased accessibility brought about by improved mode choice. 


16. Travel Time Savings:  The U.S. DOT BCA Guidance (P. 36, Table A-3) hourly value of time for all purposes is $17.80 (2020$)(personal and business). The FEIS states that the Project is expected to generate 41,500 daily weekday transit trips (page 9-9).  The DEIS states (page 2-6) that transit times will be improved from between 14 to 28 minutes from the Project area to points north of 95th Street (page 2-6). For the SBSCA, it was assumed that average transit travel time savings per trip is 21 minutes (although it is acknowledged that the savings for trips solely in the Project area are likely less). Estimated annual ridership is as follows:  41,500 x 260 weekdays = 10,790,000. Based upon 2016 CTA rail ridership data (, this amount represents about 83% of rides. To capture weekend trips 10,790,000/0.83 = 13,000,000 total annual rides. 


Increased Land Value:  The TIGER Guide states the following: “1) The benefit of any property value increase can only be considered as a one-time stock benefit and cannot be treated as a stream of benefits accruing annually; 2) It cannot include any investment by developers; 3) Other benefits to land value already counted, such as travel time savings, must also be netted out.” According to Capturing the Value of Transit by Reconnecting America's Center for TOD (2008), studies have shown ranges of residential property increases as follows:  residential land, 2-45%; and office/retail, 1-167% within a 1/4-mile radius of TOD. However, transportation investments also have the potential to decrease land values elsewhere as discussed in Arkell, R. (2021), Chicago Expressway System Social Benefits Minus Social Costs Analysis. Journal of Transport Policy. Given these uncertainties and lack of evidence regarding potential property value increases beyond travel time savings, no value was assigned. 


17. Accident Reduction Benefits:  According to the 2010 Illinois Crash Statistics publication (, page 10, totals for the state are as follows:  105.74B VMT; 289,260 crashes; and 927 fatalities.  The crash rate was 1 accident per 365,554 VMT.  This rate was multiplied by the annual VMT savings due to the Project to estimate annual accident reduction.  The fatality/crash ratio was 0.0032047 (927/289,260) based on the 2010 data. 


According to the DEIS (PAGE 9-8), the Project will result in a reduction of 276,452 CTA bus miles per year. According to CTA 2016 Performance Measures (, the 2016 annual bus incident rate per 100,000 miles is 0.555. Thus, 276,452 X (0.555/100000) =  1.53 bus incidents decreased annually. 


The Project adds 5.6 miles to the CTA rail system (FEIS, page ES-1)(11.2 due to doubletrack) which is an increase in track mileage of about 5.0% from the existing 224.1 miles. According to the DEIS (page 9-8), the Project will add 5,489,502 train car miles annually. Average train length assumed was 6 cars. Thus, annual train miles added was calculated as 914,917. According to CTA 2016 Performance Measures (, the 2016 annual rail incident rate per 100,000 miles was 0.074. Thus, 914,917 X (0.074/100000) =  0.678 rail incidents increased annually. 


The value of a statistical life (VSL) is from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 2016 Guidelines for Regulatory Impact Analysis, Appendix D: Updating Value per Statistical Life (VSL) Estimates for Inflation and Changes in Real Income (0.8% per year). ( les/2021-07/hhs-guidelines-appendix-d-vsl-update.pdf). These VSL values are comparable to the U.S. DOT Appendix D: Updating Value per Statistical Life (VSL) Estimates for Inflation and Changes in Real Income (, dated April 2021. 


The estimates of injury severity were based in part on the U.S. DOT BCA Guidance, Table A-1: Value of Reduced Fatalities and Injuries monetary values, includiing 1.44 injuries per accident, and the TIGER Guide, Table 4. KABCO/Unknown – AIS Data Conversion Matrix for injury severity probabilities.  Accordingly, the data on number of road accidents reduced was converted to the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) to determine estimated level of injury by severity rates (none, minor, moderate, serious, severe, critical). The AIS format was also used for bus and train accidents. 


18. The expected life of the Project elements were obtained from Transport infrastructure evaluation using cost-benefit analysis:  improvements at evaluating the asset through residual value a case study.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Engineering Systems Division, ESC-WP-2013-21, updated August 2014 (   Project element costs are based upon the August 2009 CTA Locally Prefferred Alternatives Report, Table 6.14, LPA Capital Costs for percentage breakdowns based upon the total cost of $3,039,386,821 in 2020 $.

a. 4 Stations, 50% after 30 years (60 years life):  $531,892,694 (17.5% of capital costs) X 50% useful life = $265,946,347.

b. Permanent Way (tracks, ballast), 20% after 30 years (38 years life):  $623,074,298 (20.5% of capital costs) X 20% = $124,614,860. Given that the Project ROW is elevated, the criteria for bridges is used instead, 50% after 30 years (60 years life):  $623,074,298 (20.5% of capital costs) X 50% = $311,537,149.

c. Systems/Signaling/Safety, 50% after 30 years (60 years useful life):  $443,750,476 (14.6% of capital costs) X 50% = $221,875,238.

d. Land (150 years useful life): $109,417,926 (3.6% of capital costs) X 80% useful life = $87,534,340.

e. Sitework/Easthwork (60 years life):  $72,945,284 (2.4% of capital costs) X 50% = $36,472,642.

f. Yards, Shops, Admin. Bldgs., (50 years life): CTA does not consider replacement of the 98th Street facility as part of the Project.

g. Vehicles, 0% after 30 years (30 years useful life):  $607,877,364 (20.0% of capital costs) X 0% useful life = $0 [FTA circular 5010.1D p. IV-18 states that rail cars have a useful life of at least 25 years (30 years useful life is assumed)].

h. The above totals 78.6% of capital costs. Professional services is 15.8% with the remaining 5.6 % as unallocated contingency ($50,000,000 is arbitrarily added to to the total residual value to account for this.).Thus, the calculated total residual value after 30 years was $973,365,716.



2023-01-15 CTA RLE SBSCA Summary Table.png
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