The Gold Standard in Impact Evaluation

How does one show the effect of a specific measure and exclude external influences? The city of Utrecht applies the gold standard in impact evaluation.

It’s not enough just to show that more people are satisfied with a measure after the implementation compared to the situation before. Sometimes external impacts such as a tax relief might have contributed to improvements of general satisfaction, for example. To prove that a specific measure was the cause of the successful impact, "Control Site Assessment" is the gold standard to validate results. CIVITAS MIMOSA city Utrecht applies this gold standard in at least two of their measure evaluations. The road safety label is awarded to schools that deal actively with traffic safety. In the evaluation approach, two schools without these traffic safety activites act as control sites that are investigated alongside a representative selection of schools awarded with the label. Questionnaires and statistical analysis are used to collect before and after data. Similarly, Utrecht also applies the gold standard evaluation approach to its car sharing awareness raising measures. Before and after surveys will be carried out in the campaign area, as well as in a control area where no campaign will be conducted. The evaluation results for both measures (available in summer 2012) will provide solid and high-quality data on the impact of the measures that will help to determe whether or not the measures have been successful.

Author: Dziekan Katrin

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