Major Transport Infrastructure Projects and Economic Development

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This report discusses the state of the art in understanding the economic effects of major transport infrastructure projects. It examines the limits of socio-economic cost-benefit analysis (CBA) and reviews the development of complementary and alternative approaches to assessing the benefits of investment in large, transformative projects. In particular, his report focuses on practical appraisal tools developed for assessment of the Grand Paris super-metro and London’s Crossrail project.



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Executive Summary

International Transport Forum

Socio-economic appraisal of transport investments and transport policies is broadly accepted as a valuable, often indispensable input to decision-making, although opinions differ as to its precise role and there is debate on whether the standard toolkit is up to the task in all cases. An important concern is that applying standard methods of appraisal, which focus on direct benefits for transport users, may produce inaccurate estimates of total benefits. Standard methods are also of little help in gauging the ultimate distribution of project benefits and costs or for estimating impacts on overall output (Gross Value Added) and employment. The issues are particularly pressing for “major projects” – projects with potentially wide-ranging effects outside the narrow transport perspective that lies at the core of standard cost-benefit analysis.

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