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Marco Dean and Robin Hickman

Considering how major transport projects should be assessed continues to generate debate amongst academics, infrastructure specialists, investors and governments alike. This chapter compares traditional Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) and Multi Actor Multi Criteria Analyis (MAMCA) methodologies. It considers the South Fylde Line, linking Blackpool, a large town and seaside resort in North West England, the Fylde Coast and the city of Preston. The authors critically discuss the appraisal of three potential alternative improvements of the rail line, proposed with the view to supporting regeneration in the area. The appraisal includes both a CBA and a MAMCA exercise. Based on this analysis, the authors contends that, particularly in areas characterized by severe social deprivation problems, a MAMCA approach to appraisal may be preferable to analyst-led, economic-centric tools such as CBA. However, participatory MCA methodologies should not be regarded as a panacea for better decisions and their application is also subject to several issues which require careful consideration.