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Economic appraisal of European transport projects: the state-of-the-art revisited

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Substantial investment has been made at national and European level in transport infrastructure over the past 50 years and is likely to continue in the future. The need to appraise transport projects in economic and social terms has developed alongside this in both scope and complexity. The state-of-the-art in the economic appraisal of transport projects is reviewed, progress is assessed and future challenges are identified. The review addresses the general framework, treatment of major impacts, presentation of outputs and issues such as uncertainty. It draws on national practice in Western European countries, which varies substantially reflecting a range of cultural and economic differences. Some points of commonality exist and the principle of monetizing direct transport impacts is generally accepted. Progress has been made towards the measurement of environmental impacts, but the assessment of the wider impacts remains under-developed. Increased sophistication and complexity has brought increasing data and presentation requirements, where computerized decision support methods have potential. Many challenges exist for the future of appraisal and the review is concluded with a discussion of some key issues. At the heart of these is the continuing debate over the relative roles of national and European government in decision-making and resource allocation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001

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