Since the 2019 non-statutory consultation, we’ve been using a clear and consistent framework of 15 Assessment Factors to review possible route options for East West Rail from Bedford to Cambridge.

This allows us us to compare and consider a range of aspects and find the best balance of benefits.

Our Assessment Factors look at how well different route options meet the overall project objectives. They help us to determine the benefits of each option for customers, as well as the broader communities EWR will serve.

The Assessment Factors have been agreed with the UK government and provide a robust framework for comparing the relative performance of options.

All 15 factors are taken into account at each stage of the design process and will be applied in different ways according to the stage of development. This is because some may help to a greater extent than others in differentiating between options.

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The 15 Assessment Factors:

  • Transport user benefits - the benefits experienced by passengers, such as journey time savings
  • Contribution to enabling housing and economic growth
  • Capital costs - the upfront costs of each option
  • Operating costs - the costs to deliver train services
  • Overall affordability
  • Short distance connectivity - to support commuting 
  • Short distance passenger services – to support short distance local journeys



  • Rail passenger connectivity to existing main lines
  • Long distance passenger services
  • Freight demand – both existing and future
  • Performance - to meet or exceed customer expectations
  • Alignment with wider railway strategy / infrastructure
  • Safety risk – both during construction and operation
  • Environmental impacts and opportunities
  • Consistency with Local Plans
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Using the Assessment Factors to select a preferred route alignment

After the recent 2021 consultation we’ve been using these assessment factors to further assess and refine our design work, which will help to select a preferred route alignment. 

Interested in learning more about our Assessment Factors?

The Technical Report (PDF - 3MB) published as part of the 2021 non-statutory consultation sets out in more detail how the Assessment Factors have been used and the outcomes of our work to date.

Delivery of East West Rail is underway