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Title: A cost-benefit analysis framework for smart city projects taking into consideration of possible public-private partnerships
Authors: Yang, Wenjing
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2019
Abstract: Smart city projects bring new changes to the lives of citizens with the utilization of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Apart from a technical feasibility study, an economic justification is necessary before projects are launched. A Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) framework needs to be established for smart city projects in Hong Kong, which has been earmarked to become "smart". In the traditional CBA, market costs may be evaluated from estimated manpower and purchases. Tangible benefits may be estimated from collectible income. However, most of the smart city benefits accruing from public services are provided free of charge to users. Whilst market values are still measurable using established methods, a systematic evaluation approach for the non-market benefits and intangible costs accruing from smart city projects needs to be developed. In addition, owing to the characteristics of different smart city projects, the suitability of Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) needs to be addressed in the CBA of the feasibility study of a smart city project, given the desire of the government to tap on private sector resources and expertise. Since Hong Kong has been carrying out pilot smart city projects, this research is conducted from the economic and social perspectives to formulate guidelines for decision-making of associated projects. Hence, the specific objectives of this research are as follows: (i) to develop a generic CBA framework to aid decision making in smart city developments; (ii) to develop a set of survey instruments for monetizing the benefits and costs of major types of smart city projects being planned in Hong Kong; and (iii) to identify factors and suitable methods in the CBA framework for evaluating the suitability of possible PPPs.
The objectives have been accomplished using the following methods: (i) Through a comprehensive literature review, a draft framework for CBA of smart city projects was developed. (ii) By conducting questionnaire surveys and econometric analysis, the evaluation instruments (objective 2) have been developed and tested with a series of 3 case studies of smart city projects having different characteristics (e-government in detail, a carparking App and an energy efficiency installation in a summarized form). The structured surveys involving more than 2,000 respondents in total enabled an examination of the non-market benefits enjoyed by citizens in Hong Kong. The dichotomous choice and open-ended questioning approaches were applied in the elicitation. The Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) was estimated as the proxy of monetary value in contingent valuations with bivariate probit and Tobit models. Hence, the non-market benefits to citizens were evaluated, taking into account the influential factors, including age, system usability, etc. Another survey to find out the non-market costs of the smart city project types was also conducted, using the elicitation method of payment card and ordered probit modeling, which are different from the case studies on benefits. (iii) Working towards objective 3, a survey and a focus group meeting to evaluate the suitability of PPP in smart city projects were conducted with both the public and private sectors, using Multiple Attribute Utility Analysis. Based on these tools and findings, a comprehensive CBA framework (which was validated by 5 experts) has been established for decision makers when considering the launch of smart city projects (objective 1). The research has contributed to bridging the knowledge gap of evaluating the non-market costs and benefits to citizens of smart city projects. In addition, the suitability of PPP for 8 smart city projects in Hong Kong has also been evaluated, with the finding that not all of them are affirmative.
Subjects: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
City planning -- Technological innovations -- China -- Hong Kong
Cost effectiveness
Public-private sector cooperation
Pages: xiv, 207 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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