Dr Phill Wheat
Dr. Phill Wheat is an applied economist and econometrician at the University of Leeds. He is Programme Leader for the new MSc Transport Economics Postgraduate Programme starting September 2016.
Dr. Phill Wheat is a transport economist and applied econometrician whose primary area of interest is the analysis of transport costs and how these are influenced by the competitive, market structure and institutional factors within transport markets. His work is a mixture of applied econometric analysis, development of econometric performance measurement techniques and regulatory economics. Phill's work includes collaborative theoretical research in econometrics with William Greene of New York University examining issues in econometric performance models.
He has wide ranging experience of cost and performance analysis in the rail sector including important studies for the Office of Rail Regulation and Department for Transport.
He is also actively developing new economic research avenues in Local and Strategic Highways. Dr Wheat is Co-founder of the CQC Efficiency Network – A collaborative network of highways departments of Local Authorities in Britain to enable the identification of best practice in highway maintenance.
A flavour of Dr Wheat's research is given in the following presentations:
Phill is actively seeking to supervise PhD students in a variety of economics applications both within transport applications and wider regulation of infrastructure issues. He welcomes discussions with potential students about possible research topics and how to tailor research to meet the objectives of individual students.
- 2017 onwards Associate Professor, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
- 2010 – 2016 Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
- 2009 – 2014 Visiting Researcher, Centre for Transport Studies, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI)
- 2005 - 2010 Research Fellow, Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds
- 2003 - 2005 Consultant, Faber Maunsell
- 2002 - 2003 Assistant, Faber Maunsell
PhD University of Leeds. “Econometric cost analysis in vertically separated railways”. Viva date June 2014, awarded with “Research Excellence”.
MA Transport Economics, University of Leeds. Distinction, 2006, Best MA student and Best Masters Dissertation prizes
BSc (Honours) Economics and Econometrics, University of Nottingham. First Class, 2003.
Research Project Experience
- 2015 onwards
Local Authorities – CQC Efficiency Network (2015 onwards)
Dr Wheat is Co-founder of the CQC Efficiency Network (subscription service) – A collaborative network of highways departments of Local Authorities in Britain to enable the identification of best practice in highway maintenance. http://nhtcqc.econtrack.co.uk/Default.aspx.
Office of Rail and Road – Benchmarking Highways England
With KPMG, Phill is advising ORR on what data and techniques can be used in future to assess the efficiency and performance of Highways England .
- 2013 - 2015
Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme – Cost Quality Customer Statistical Benchmarking for Highways Authorities (2013-2015)
Phill has piloted the development of statistical cost benchmarking models for Local Authority highway departments to guide adoption of best practice to yield best value.
Competition and Markets Authority – Advice on the relative costs of open access operators relative to franchise operators
Comparison of the costs of open access operators relative to franchised passenger operators using an econometric model developed over a number of research projects. Used by CMA to inform their recent project on competition in the passenger rail industry.
- August 2009 – April 2015
Top-down Infrastructure Econometric International Benchmarking (Office of Rail Regulation funded)
Benchmarking study utilising stochastic frontier methods with data from several European and world infrastructure managers. Builds on earlier work used in the 2008 Periodic Review.
- January 2012 – January 2013
Advice on Statistical Confidence of Appraisal Non-Work Values of Time (Department for Transport funded)
Project to determine confidence intervals on values of travel time used by DfT in order to understand uncertainty surrounding these estimates.
- December 2011 – April 2013
The impact of large changes in Generalised Journey Time on rail passenger demand (ATOC funded)
Project to look at enhancements to econometric demand models to examine whether there is empirical support for different GJT elasticities depending on the size of the GJT change.
- 2011 – 2015
SUSTRAIL (EU Seventh Framework Programme funded)
Phill is project director for ITS’s inputs into this €9m project examining means to make rail freight sustainable. ITS are work package leader for work examining economic appraisal and incentives for implementation including research on differentiating access charges.
- September 2009- December 2010
Econometric Evidence on Train Operating Company size (Office of Rail Regulation funded)
Econometric analysis to determine potential cost savings from merging various passenger train operating companies in Great Britain.
- August 2009 – October 2009
Audit of Train Operating Cost Module in NMF (National Audit Office funded)
Phill undertook a review of the strengths and weaknesses of the existing train operating cost module in the DfT’s National Modelling Framework, both in terms of its internal composition and how it related to other modules in the framework.
Development of an Enhanced Train Operating Cost Module in NMF (Department for Transport)
Econometric efficiency cost analysis to inform the enhanced train operating cost module for the revised NMF currently under development. The analysis provides objective information to validate the assumptions in the module and provide parameters.
Concessionary fares – reimbursement of bus operators – econometric demand modelling (Department for Transport funded)
Econometric analysis of STATS100A data to inform the elasticities of demand in order to better determine reimbursement to operators resulting from resent reforms to the concessionary travel system in England.
- November 2006 – September 2010
Rail Research UK Project B7: Railway System Cost Modelling (EPSRC funded)
Study of railway passenger train operators cost and performance post privatisation. It examined the impact on TOC performance of different franchise contracting arrangements, highlighted the best performing TOCs .
- December 2007 – May 2009
International Benchmarking of Network Rail’s efficiency performance (Office of Rail Regulation funded)
Benchmarking study utilising stochastic frontier methods with regional data from several European and world infrastructure managers. The work feed into the 2008 Periodic Review of Network Rail’s finances.
- September 2007 – May 2009
Cost Allocation of Transport Infrastructure CATRIN (EU Sixth Framework funded)
The work on rail infrastructure costs focuses on addressing the key outstanding empirical research needs, including addressing the modelling of renewals costs and investigating the reasons for differences in results across EU countries. Phill was responsible for ITS’ inputs and managing the rail work package, which involved partners from over five organisations acrossEurope.
- August 2008 – January 2009
Public transport reform Outline Business Case (Department of Regional Development – Northern Ireland funded)
Advice to DRD regarding reform ofNorthern Ireland’s public transport system. In particular Phill’s input focuses on benchmarking the performance of Translink relative to international comparators and utilising this information to inform the best organisational structure to adopt.
- January 2008 – February 2008
Review of Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan (Office of Rail Regulation funded)
Independent review of the structure and level of access charges contained in Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan.
- January 2006
Structure of Costs and Charges Review – review of work on avoidable costs and on cost variability (Office of Rail Regulation funded)
Independent review of the ORR’s recent consultancy projects on charging for variable and fixed costs of infrastructure use.
- July 2005 – December 2006
Generalisation of Research on Accounts and Cost Estimation (GRACE) – Estimating the marginal cost of wear and tear of rail infrastructure usage (EU Sixth Framework funded)
The work on rail infrastructure usage utilised data supplied by Network Rail to estimate a cost function for maintenance expenditure for theUKrail network. The project also contributed to Network Rails understanding of cost trends and drivers of maintenance expenditure.
- April 2005 – June 2006
Rail Research UK – Project B4: System Level Cost framework for the assessment of sub-system tradeoffs (EPSRC funded)
The main aim of this project is to identify and quantify techno-economic tradeoffs within the railway system.
- MSc Transport Economics Programme Leader
- Module Leader TRAN5113 Transport Econometrics
This module covers econometric material relevant to analysis of economic data in transport. It emphasizes the applied nature of the discipline through student led illustrative practical examples and the crucial linkage between economics and statistics the forms the econometrics discipline.
- Dissertation supervision
Phill has supervised a number of undergraduate economics and post graduate economics dissertations across a range of topics including the incentives of opt-in organ donation to the impact of open access competition in railways. Phill is actively seeking to supervise PhD students in a variety of economics applications both within transport applications and wider regulation of infrastructure issues. He welcomes discussions with potential students about possible research topics and how to tailor research to meet the objectives of individual students.
- Smith ASJ; Iwnicki S; Kaushal A; Odolinski K; Wheat P (In press) Estimating the relative cost of track damage mechanisms: combining economic and engineering approaches, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, .
- Yokomi M; Wheat P; Mizutani J (In press) The Impact of Low Cost Carriers on Non-Aeronautical Revenues in Airport: An Empirical Study of UK Airports, Journal of Air Transport Management, .
- Wheat P; Wardman M (2017) Effects of timetable related service quality of rail demand, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 95, pp.96-108. doi: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.11.009
- Gillies-Smith A; Wheat P (2016) Do network industries plan to eliminate inefficiencies in response to regulatory pressure? The case of railways in Great Britain, Utilities Policy, 43, pp.165-173. doi: 10.1016/j.jup.2016.10.001
- Wheat P; Batley R (2015) Quantifying and decomposing the uncertainty in appraisal value of travel time savings, Transport Policy, 44, pp.134-142. doi: 10.1016/j.tranpol.2015.06.010
- Wheat PE; Smith A (2015) Do the usual results of railway returns to scale and density hold in the case of heterogeneity in outputs: A hedonic cost function approach, Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, 49, pp.35-47.
- Wheat P; Greene W; Smith A (2014) Understanding prediction intervals for firm specific inefficiency scores from parametric stochastic frontier models, Journal of Productivity Analysis, 42, pp.55-65. doi: 10.1007/s11123-013-0346-y
- Wheat P; Smith A (2012) Is the choice of (t-T) in Battese and Coelli (1992) type stochastic frontier models innocuous? Observations and generalisations, Economics Letters, 116, pp.291-294. doi: 10.1016/j.econlet.2012.03.013
- Andersson M; Wikberg T; Smith A; Wheat P (2012) Estimating the marginal cost of railway track renewals using corner solution models, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 46, pp.954-964. doi: 10.1016/j.tra.2012.02.016
- Smith ASJ; Wheat P (2012) Estimation of cost inefficiency in panel data models with firm specific and sub-company specific effects, Journal of Productivity Analysis, 37, pp.27-40. doi: 10.1007/s11123-011-0220-8
- Smith ASJ; Wheat P (2012) Evaluating alternative policy responses to franchise failure: Evidence from the passenger rail sector in Britain, Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, 46, pp.25-49.
- Lovell K; Bouch C; Smith A; Nash C; Roberts C; Wheat P; Griffiths C; Smith R (2011) Introducing new technology to the railway industry: System-wide incentives and impacts, Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, 225, pp.192-201. doi: 10.1177/09544097JRRT383
- Smith ASJ; Wheat PE; Nash CA (2010) Exploring the effects of passenger rail franchising in Britain: Evidence from the first two rounds of franchising (1997-2008), Research in Transportation Economics, 29, pp.72-79. doi: 10.1016/j.retrec.2010.07.010
- Smith A; Wheat P; Smith G (2010) The role of international benchmarking in developing rail infrastructure efficiency estimates, Utilities Policy, 18, pp.86-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jup.2009.06.003
- Wheat P; Smith ASJ (2008) Assessing the marginal infrastructure maintenance wear and tear costs for Britain's railway network, J TRANSP ECON POLICY, 42, pp.189-224.
- Vaghi C; Wheat PE; Osterle I; Milottia A; Nellthorp J (2016) The Role of Human Factors in Rail Freight Innovation, In: Blanquart C; Clausen U; Jacob B (Ed) Towards Innovative Freight and Logistics, Wiley, pp.245-258. doi: 10.1002/9781119307785
- Smith ASJ; Buckell J; Wheat P; Longo R (2016) Hierarchical Performance and Unobservable Heterogeneity in Health: A Dual-Level Efficiency Approach Applied to NHS Pathology in England, In: Greene WH; Khalaf L; Sickles R; Veall M; Voia M-C (Ed) Productivity and Efficiency Analysis, Springer Proceedings in Business and Economics, Springer International Publishing, pp.119-143. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-23228-7_8
- Smith A; Wheat P; Wolanski M (2015) Public transport operations costs, Handbook of Research Methods and Applications in Transport Economics and Policy, pp.38-70. doi: 10.4337/9780857937933.00009
- Wheat P; Nash C; Smith A (2014) Economic performance assessment in railways, In: Hansen IA; Pachl J (Ed) Railway Timetabling & Operations Analysis, Modelling, Optimisation, Simulation, Performance Evaluation, DVV Media Group GmbH (Eurailpress), pp.295-305.
- Nash C; Abrantes P; Wheat P; Smith A (In press) Rail Access Charges and On-Track Competition, .
- Wheat PE; Smith A; Matthews B (2015) D5.3: Access Charge Final Report. The sustainable freight railway: Designing the freight vehicle - track system for higher delivered tonnage with improved availability at reduced cost (SUSTRAIL), .
- Wheat PE (2015) Cost Quality Customer: Statistical Benchmarking, Report to stakeholders, .
- Wheat PE; Wardman M; Bates J (2013) ADVICE ON STATISTICAL CONFIDENCE OF APPRAISAL NON-WORK VALUES OF TIME, .
- Wardman MR; Wheat P (2013) META-ANALYSIS OF POST-1994 VALUES OF NON-WORK TRAVEL TIME SAVINGS, .
- Toner JP; Smith ASJ; Shen S; Wheat P (2010) Review of Bus Profitability in England Econometric Evidence on Bus Costs: Final Report, pp.1-34.
- Wheat P; Smith A; Nash C (2009) CATRIN (Cost Allocation of TRansport INfrastructure cost), Deliverable 8 - Rail Cost Allocation for Europe, .
- Wheat PE; Nash C (2008) Peer Review of Network Rail's Indicative Charges Proposal Made as Part of it's Strategic Business Plan, .
- Wheat P; Nash C (2006) Policy Effectiveness of Rail: EU policy and its impact on the rail system, .
- Rivas Amiassorho E; Wheat PE; Smith A (2016) Regional Benchmarking of the British Rail Infrastructure Manager: A Long Panel Approach, .
- Smith A; Kaushal A; Odolinski K; Iwnicki S; Wheat PE (2015) Estimating the damage and marginal cost of different vehicle types on rail infrastructure: combining economic and engineering approaches, tbc .
- Wheat P; Wardman M (2017) Effects of timetable related service quality on rail demand, Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 95, pp.96-108. doi: 10.1016/j.tra.2016.11.009
- Stead AD; Wheat PE; Greene WH (2016) Estimating Efficiency in the Presence of Extreme Outliers: t-Truncated Normal and t-Exponential Stochastic Frontiers, North American Productivity Workshop IX .
- Stead AD; Wheat PE (2016) A Mixture Distribution Stochastic Frontier Model, 6th Network of Industrial Economists Doctoral Student Colloquium .
- Yokomi M; Wheat PE; Mizutani J (2015) The Impact of LCC on Non-Aeronautical Revenues in Airport: An Empirical Study of UK Airports, Air Transport Research Society 2014 .
- Yokomi M; Wheat P; Mizutani J (2015) The relationships of LCC frequencies and non-aeronautical revenues in > airport: An empirical study of UK, The Japan Society of Transportation Economics .
- Yokomi M; Wheat P; Mizutani J (2015) The impact of LCC on non-aeronautical revenues in airport: An empirical model with airport congestion, Seminar to the International Institute of American Studies .
- Rasmussen T; Wheat P; Smith A (2015) Do open access train operators exhibit inherent cost benefits compared to their franchised counterparts?, International Transportation Economics Association Annual Conference and Summer School (Kuhmo Nectar) .
- Vaghi C; Wheat PE; Osterle I; Nellthorp J (2013) The role of human factors in rail freight innovation, Transport Research Arena 2014 .
- Wheat PE; Smith ASJ; Greene W (2011) How confident can we be about confidence intervals for firm specific inefficiency scores from parametric Stochastic Frontier Models?, 12th European Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity Analysis .
- Wheat P; Smith A (2009) An International Efficiency Comparison of Rail Infrastructure Managers: An Ananysis Utilising Sub-Company data and a Dual Level Inefficiency Model, 11th European Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity Analysis .
- Smith A; Wheat P (2009) The Effect of Franchising on Cost Efficiency: Evidence from the Passenger Rail Sector in Britain, 11th Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport .
- Smith A; Wheat P (2009) The Application of Time Varying Efficiency Models to the Study of Passenger Rail Franchising in Britain, 11th European Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity Analysis .
- Wheat P (2008) The Power of Sub-Company data for Estimating Efficiency Frontiers, 5th North American Productivity Workshop .
- Wheat PE; Smith ASJ (2007) A Quantitative Study of Train Operating Companies Cost and Efficiency Trends 1996 to 2006: Lessons for Future Franchising Policy, Tenth European Workshop on Efficiency and Productivity Analysis, Lille, France. 2007 .
- Smith ASJ; Wheat PE (2007) A Quantitative Study of Train Operating Companies Cost and Efficiency Trends 1996 to 2006: Lessons for Future Franchising Policy, European Transport Conference 2007, Netherlands. .
- Wheat PE; Smith ASJ (2006) Assessing the marginal infrastructure wear and tear costs for Great Britain’s railway network, European Transport Conference September 2006, Strasbourg. .