The Wider Economic Benefits of Transport

Macro-, Meso- and Micro-Economic Transport Planning and Investment Tools

image of The Wider Economic Benefits of Transport

The standard cost-benefit analysis of transport infrastructure investment projects weighs a project’s costs against users’ benefits. This approach has been challenged on the grounds that it ignores wider economic impacts of such projects. At this International Transport Forum Round Table, leading academics and practitioners addressed these concerns and examined a range of potential approaches for evaluating wider impacts – negative as well as positive. They concluded that for smaller projects, it is better to focus on timely availability of results, even if this means forgoing sophisticated analysis of wider impacts. For larger projects or investment programs, customized analysis of these effects is more easily justifiable. Creating consistent appraisal procedures is a research priority.

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Wider Economic Benefits of Investments in Transport

International Transport Forum

This paper begins by motivating the need for including “wider economic effects” when conducting transport infrastructure appraisal, followed by a discussion of various techniques to do so. The major focus is on studies from the cost function perspective that incorporate spillover benefits from public infrastructure capital, with a presentation of applications on highways, airports, and ports infrastructure stocks. The substantial differences between approaches focusing on “narrow” and “wider” impacts is evaluated, along with discussion of how application of the tools of spatial econometrics has facilitated estimation of models that capture wider economic benefits.

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