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Link21 Business Case

What is a Business Case? 

The Link21 Business Case is a decision-making framework that guides the investment decisions for the Program. The Link21 Team relies on the Business Case process and metrics to evaluate potential solutions, ensuring that only the most effective, achievable, and appropriate solutions are moved forward and recommended for implementation.

The Business Case process evaluates passenger, societal, economic, and environmental benefits and risks across the Megaregion and is organized by four key cases: Strategic, Economic, Financial, and Deliverability Each area incorporates equity as a foundational element and has its own set of quantitative and qualitative metrics that are used to evaluate proposed rail solutions.

The Preliminary Business Case guiding Phase 1 work focuses on the Strategic Case to make sure that Link21 concepts are developed to align with Program Goals and Objectives. Built on a commitment to transparent and evidence-based decision-making, the Business Case will evolve as Link21 planning progresses. Future work will increase attention on Program funding and deliverability.

What Makes Up a Business Case?

The Link21 Business Case encompasses four main cases, all incorporating equity as a foundational element:

The Business Case will be used through the entire life-cycle of Link21, from the generation of bright ideas to the analysis and recommendation of specific projects to be funded, constructed, and operated. 

Link21 is using metrics across all four key cases to assess Program concepts.  As the planning phases progress and assessment continues, additional metrics could be added to refine concepts to identify the best solutions.

Click the dropdowns below to learn more about four key areas of the Business Case and example metrics we are using to evaluate concepts. Read the full list of current metrics

The Strategic Case

What are the Megaregional benefits?

The Strategic Case allows the Link21 Team to measure how a concept will fulfill Link21’s Goals and Objectives and establish why and how it makes sense. The Team has developed metrics for each Goal and Objective. See example metrics below. 

Example Strategic Metrics (full list):

  • Travel Time Savings
  • Ridership
  • Reliability
  • Benefits to Priority Populations
  • Accessibility to Rail  
  • Number of additional jobs accessible 
  • Number of additional important community resources accessible 
The Economic Case

What are the economic benefits and Program costs? 

The Economic Case evaluates benefits to rail and non-rail travelers, as well as society as a whole, and identifies the economic value to the Megaregion. It assesses economic advantages such as business and employment benefits and analyzes cost effectiveness of the concepts by monetizing benefits and comparing them to the estimated Program costs.

Example Economic Metrics (full list):

  • Cost Effectiveness
  • Economic Benefits
The Financial Case

What are the financial implications? 

The Financial Case determines how much it will cost to deliver and operate the new system, how much revenue it will generate, and what funding might be used to pay for it. 

Example Financial Metrics (full list):

  • Capital Costs
  • Operations and Maintenance Costs
  • Fundability
The Deliverability Case

What is required to deliver and operate the project? 

The Deliverability Case measures how the Project can be delivered, what’s required to design, construct, and manage the new system. It also assesses potential project risks or challenges associated with each concept such as environmental risks and right-of-way and land use risks, including the risk of displacement.

Example Deliverability Metrics (full list):

  • Constructability
  • Equitable Land Use
  • Environmental
  • Right-of-Way Acquisition

Concept Evaluation Process

Concepts are being assessed through multiple rounds of evaluation to understand benefits and tradeoffs. Performing this in-depth screening of concepts in this early Phase of planning will help limit the number of proposed alternatives that go through the detailed analysis required for environmental review in Phase 2. It also provides early opportunity to engage with key stakeholders and the public at each step of assessment to listen, learn, and seek input that is aiding in concept refinement. To find out more about what we’ve learned and where we are with concept evaluation, read the Appendix A: Exploratory Evaluation Report Executive Summary, Appendix B: Round 1 Evaluation Report Executive Summary (full reports are available upon request), and visit the Current Planning Activities page.