Economic evaluation is an essential feature common to all activities of the Agency. Its objectives are:
- To avoid any decrease of the competitiveness of railway transportation, in line with the ultimate objectives of European legislation;
- For that sake, to provide decision-makers with a fair estimate of the effects of Agency recommendations.
Not all effects are monetary; not all causes are technical; not all stakeholders are able to defend their interests. It is the mission of the Economic Evaluation Unit to provide the other units, the Commission and the stakeholders with an adequate overview of concerned parties, causes, and effects.
Economic evaluation should also avoid a mere “accountant’s” vision of the railway system. It shall therefore take into account, as far as possible, its qualitative aspects and its potential for development, i.e. the long-term interests of railway clients and third parties.
As indicated by the White Paper (2001) about the European transportation policy, “a modern transportation system must be sustainable from both an economic, social and environmental point of view”, which basically sums up the concerns of the Agency as a whole, and of its economic evaluation unit in particular.