Measuring Road Transport Performance
1. Aspects of Performance
To a large extent the bottom line indicator of performance of freight and passenger road transport
is the operating cost per tonne or tonne-km (or per passenger or passenger-km). Level of service
aspects such as travel time, reliability, safety, comfort and security are also important, as well as
Trucks: In countries where large-scale intercity trucking operates efficiently in medium-income
countries with predominantly flat terrain, recent experience is that the transport cost per km for a
truck-trailer is between US$0.75 and US$ 1.25. For a typical load of 20 tonnes, this works out at
US cents ...view middle of the document...
While cost is usually the single most important aspect of trucking services, customers also attach
importance to speed, door-to-door deliveries, avoiding damage to or theft of goods, and
predictability of delivery time.
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Buses: For large good-quality non-airconditioned long-distance buses operating efficiently in
medium-income countries, operating costs of about US $ 0.40 per km can be achieved. With an
average load of about 40 passengers this corresponds to a bus fare of about US cents 1.0 per
passenger-km. Small-scale basic quality minibus services in rural areas can offer similar fares,
operating efficiently with high, even passenger flows. However, fares in rural areas can be about
double this due to higher costs attributable to poor roads and mountainous terrain, serving small or
variable numbers of passengers.
The main factors that affect bus costs are similar to those listed above for trucks. In particular they
• demand pattern, which varies in time and place and constrains scheduling possibilities,
• quality of service offered, such as availability of seats, predictability of services, comfort and
whether or not special features such as air conditioning are provided,
• extent of competition, related to type of regulation and amount of collusion among operators.
Bus passengers often attach similar importance to level of service as to fares, especially travel
time (including access and waiting times, which are affected by service frequency and reliability
of services). They may also value the type of seating and whether or not air conditioning is fitted.
2. Factors Affecting Trucking Performance
As indicated above, trucking costs are strongly dependent on vehicle productivity and prices of
inputs such as fuel, vehicles and spare parts. Productivity varies in turn with factors such as
distance of hauls, vehicle size and specifications, consignment size and nature, road conditions,
and demand pattern. Input prices vary with country, because of characteristics of transport
enterprises and support industries (state-owned enterprises may receive subsidies of some sort),
national economic characteristics and tax regimes. An example of a comparison of trucking costs
is described in Rizet C. and Hine J. L. “A comparison of the costs and productivity of road freight
transport in Africa and Pakistan”, Transport Reviews, Vol. 13, No. 2, 151-165, 1993. This study
showed how costs per tonne-km reduce sharply with increasing distance and consignment size and
that a variety of factors can produce markedly different costs between countries. More information
on this publication may be found at the Taylor & Francis Publishers Web site.at
To investigate key factors that may affect operating costs and level of service, it is useful to
• examine the proportion of costs incurred under each item such...