this report gives a summary account of a cost/benefit analysis of several hypothetical fixed track automatic passenger transport systems in an urban scenario based on the west midlands. the assessment was carried out as part of the minitram project study and is mainly concerned with a system using 20 place minitrams, but other automatic systems studied for comparative purposes include a network cab system (cabtrack) and minitram systems using larger vehicles. comparative work was also done on a rail rapid transit system, trams, and express buses running on ordinary roads. the report includes a brief description of the methodology used, with particular reference to the problems of estimating modal split to a new mode when two or more existing modes are present. the main conclusion reached from the study was that a suitable minitram network is likely to produce enough cash revenue to cover its direct operating costs and to produce sufficient social benefit to give an internal rate of return of more than 10 per cent on its capital cost. however the capital cost of the infrastructure is too great for capital charges to be paid out of net revenue, and a substantial capital grant would be required as an initial subsidy. the report stresses the importance of selecting appropriate economic criteria for optimisation before a valid economic comparison can be made with other systems.(a)

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