How to use this toolkit

BVR is a set of tools that helps to clarify the objectives of transport projects, helps narrow down the different transport modes that can deliver the objectives, and help build a comprehensive description of the project.

The tools are a useful resource to enable quick decisions, preventing too much investment (time, resources, financial) being made into a project which may not be viable or sufficiently address the strategic issue.

  • The tools have been grouped into four main areas, strategy, explore, examine, and culture & capability.
  • To make it easier for you, the toolkit has been designed for you to start in the strategy section first.
  • Then move on to explore, then examine. The culture & capability section can be applied at any point and should be considered in conjunction with all the others.
  • As you look at the output from a tool you may need to go back and revisit earlier work to check it is still valid based on your developing knowledge of the project. The ‘pause / proceed’ stages are ideal points to do this, but you can do it at any time.
    • The toolkit is designed so that high risk or unknown areas are identified early on and can be revisited, using the toolkit iteratively as the scheme is further developed.
  • This toolkit will help you collect together your findings and decision making as part of your project justification and business case.
    • Some of the tools go into more detail than may be required at a pre business case or SOBC stage, at SOBC the key thing is to be able to demonstrate alignment to strategic objectives.
  • Some of the tools are very straightforward and others are more complex. Some areas such as the costs and benefits considerations might need you to take specialist advice.

On the Explainer Videos page are a series of videos to explain more about how the BVR website and tools are intended to be used.

The tables below give a summary of what each of the tools is intended to do.

Strategy Tools

ToolOverview
Strategic context checklistThe Strategic context checklist tool should be used by the Client at the outset to define the strategic context. This tool also helps to begin thinking around what the strategic objectives of the scheme should be.
Strategic narrative templateThe template considers a list of potential strategic objectives that are relevant to your project. At every key stage or decision point this should be revisited to confirm that the project is still being developed in a way that delivers against these objectives. In this way we drive forward to deliver the benefits as opposed to driving forward what can be built.
Vision toolOnce the strategic objectives are agreed a simple vision statement, which does not use the word rail should be agreed to drive a mission focus throughout the next stages.
Pause or proceed planTo reflect on progress and idea development to decide whether to pause or proceed. To allow ideas which are not viable to stop or pause or that are not rail to exit the development of a rail scheme.
Transport hierarchyThe transport hierarchy shows that the active travel modes should normally be considered first. These are the lowest carbon emitters, the most suitable and the best for public health. They are also likely to have some of the shortest planning and delivery timescales. If Transport Demand Modelling shows that active modes are either not suitable or not enough alone then consideration should extend into the public transport modes. The hierarchy is not a fixed set of rules that must be followed, but they help in justifying and documenting choices.
Multi-modal assessment toolIf the analysis of the problem shows that active modes are either not suitable or not enough on their own to meet the stated objectives, then consideration should be given to public transport modes. The multi-modal assessment tool can then be used to determine which mass-transit option is the most appropriate for your project.

Explore Tools

ToolOverview
Early-stage specification toolA hierarchy of options to consider before making changes to infrastructure
Early-stage specification processFour process steps to take a rail project through at the early stage of development.
Concept capture toolThe fourth stage of the early specification process. Assess viability and feasibility discussion to take place in a level of detail that allows high level evaluation of whether the idea should become a project for further development and design.
Pause or proceed planTo help Promoters make a dignified exit from a project idea without undue influence from:
 
> Stakeholder management – stopping the momentum
> Fallacy of sunk costs
> High expectations
 
For cases where there is an interdependence that may change at some future stage helping Promoters pausing efficiently until ‘what needs to be true is true’.
The pause of proceed plan here is the same as in the ‘strategy’ section but should be developed separately for each stage.

Examine Tools

ToolOverview
Assumptions assessment and significance toolTo assist promoters with understanding that assumptions fall into mainly 3 categories: delayed scope that will mature into costs, uncertainty that can be mitigated, uncertainty that cannot be mitigated and impact may make project unviable. This will be industry wide with heavy focus on early stage development.
To help promoters sequence how to consider those assumptions and whether to take further action, include risk or do nothing.
Benefits toolThis tool helps users understand how a proposed project will capture and evaluate the benefits it seeks to generate.
CapEx toolThe Capital Expenditure ‘Range Finder’ tool is used to understand infrastructure costs based on similar historic schemes. It provides a high-level indicative range of costs through either Scheme Type or Asset Type, and is useful for conducting capital cost viability assessments for early project proposals.
OpEx toolThe focus of the tool is understanding the possible range of Operating Expenditure costs for schemes, at an early stage. This guidance is intended to provide promoters with an understanding of the key components of operating cost and how they should be treated in appraisals at an early stage.
Pause or Proceed PlanTo help Promoters make a dignified exit from a project idea without undue influence from:
 
> Stakeholder management – stopping the momentum
> Fallacy of sunk costs
> High expectations
 
For cases where there is an interdependence that may change at some future stage helping Promoters pausing efficiently until ‘what needs to be true is true’.
The pause of proceed plan here is the same as in the ‘strategy’ section but should be developed separately for each stage.

Culture Tools

ToolOverview
Capability assessmentTo give an overview of what types of skills and also capacity is needed at the early stage of taking an idea towards a project initiation. Being clear that good intentions are not a replacement for experience or competency. This would allow promoters to understand what they need to buy, build or borrow to take forward schemes. This has to be rail & transport specific as generic project advice is too light on system complexity.
Complexity assessmentThe purpose of this tool is to help understand the degree of complexity or novelty that a project might present and hence the degree of assessment, management, external advice etc. That might be required to support the work effectively
Common assessmentSelf-assessment is an important form of assurance and can be used at an early stage within the project team to assist promoters. The common assessment can be used concurrently alongside the tools from any of the other sections.
Case studiesThe Access for All Programme has been included as a case study on embedding and sustaining healthy project cultures