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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain and demonstrate how the selected cases have to be prepared for the actual comparison. This involves a serious effort with regard to the interpretation of the case materials. In QCA, this process of interpreting data is guided by calibration, where raw (qualitative) case data are transformed into quantitative values. Calibration is important because it systematizes interpretation and makes it transparent. There are three principle types of calibration in QCA: crisp-set QCA, fuzzy-set QCA, and multi-value QCA. We explain and demonstrate the different types of calibration using real examples. We also discuss good practices that will help the researcher in making sound decisions when calibrating. The calibration results in a calibrated data matrix, which forms the input for the formal comparison in QCA. Having completed this chapter, the researcher will be able to start the comparison.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain why it is important to research specific cases and how exactly cases are to be understood and studied using QCA. Cases allow the researcher to account for the heterogeneity, uniqueness, and contextuality of projects. Whereas the term ‘case’ is often used indiscriminately, in QCA it is a clearly defined and important building block. In QCA, cases are conceptualized as configurations of conditions. This configurational nature highlights the complexity of the case. Cases can be researched in two principal ways: case-driven and theory-driven. The case-driven route is decidedly grounded in empirical material, with the boundaries and aspects of cases being constructed during the empirical research process. In the more theory-driven route, the boundaries and aspects of cases are defined by prior theories. Both routes constitute dialogues between data and theory. The chapter explains the concrete research steps involved in both routes.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We explain and demonstrate how the researcher can identify recurring patterns across cases on the basis of the calibrated data matrix, in a systematic and transparent way. The comparative process in QCA consists of three main steps. First, the calibrated data matrix needs to be transformed into a truth table. In the truth table, the cases are sorted across the logically possible configurations of conditions. Second, the truth table has to be minimized. This is done through the pairwise comparison of truth table rows that are considered to agree on the outcome and differ in their score in but one of the conditions. The result of the minimization is a solution formula. Third, the solution formula needs to be interpreted. Two common issues in the truth table minimization are limited diversity and logical contradictions. We present various strategies for dealing with these issues.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

In this concluding chapter, some of the main issues concerning the evaluation of complex infrastructure projects with QCA are revisited. First, QCA’s capacity to truly capture and study the complexity of the development of infrastructure projects is discussed. QCA’s take on complex causality is relatively static because it does not explicitly integrate the time dimension. Various strategies to integrate time in QCA are discussed, including Temporal QCA (TQCA) and Time-Series QCA (TS/QCA). The different strategies have their strengths and weaknesses and they relate to different research steps (i.e., the case, the calibration, and the comparison) involved in QCA. Second, the deployment of QCA in real-world evaluations and various issues evaluators may run into are discussed. These issues include learning and political accountability, the presentation and visualization of results, and the transfer of lessons learned.

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The Evaluation of Complex Infrastructure Projects

A Guide to Qualitative Comparative Analysis

Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

Infrastructure projects are notoriously hard to manage so it is important that society learns from the successes and mistakes made over time. However, most evaluation methods run into a conundrum: either they cover a large number of projects but have little to say about their details, or they focus on detailed single-case studies with little in terms of applicability elsewhere. This book presents Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an alternative evaluation method that solves the conundrum to enhance learning.
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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

We argue that infrastructure projects are complex and that evaluations of such projects need to do justice to that complexity. The three principal aspects discussed here are heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context. Evaluations that are serious about incorporating the complexity of projects need to address these aspects. Often, evaluations rely on single case studies. Such studies are useful because they allow researchers to focus on the heterogeneous, unique, and contextual nature of projects. However, their relevance for explaining other (future) projects is limited. Larger-n studies allow for the comparison of cases, but they come with the important downside that their relevance for explaining single projects is limited because they cannot incorporate heterogeneity, uniqueness, and context sufficiently. The method Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) presents a promising solution to this conundrum. This book offers a guide to using QCA when evaluating infrastructure projects.

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Lasse Gerrits and Stefan Verweij

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Edited by Nikolas Thomopoulos, Mosche Givoni and Piet Rietveld

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Nikolas Thomopoulos, Moshe Givoni and Piet Rietveld

‘Smart’ in policy terms refers largely to the increasing use and various ways of ICT to meet various objectives, ranging from social cohesion to economic growth and environmental sustainability. Yet it is debatable what smart is in policy terms and even when there is consensus that it is wise to act in a certain way, the outcome might prove otherwise. Similarly, smart policy in terms of promoting the use of ICT in the transport sector includes certain threats while at the same time offering valuable opportunities. Consequently, this concluding chapter aims to summarize the main findings of previous chapters in a table and to draw useful conclusions to foster collaboration between previously distant disciplines. One of the main conclusions of this book is that ICT in particular, and technology in general, form important policy tools to advance sustainable transport, amongst other objectives. However, such policy tools should not be seen as fixes to the sustainable problem but as part of an overall solution minimizing risks. It is only such approaches that can build on synergies and avoid contradictions in the rapidly evolving field of ICT for transport to advance sustainable transport.
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Yannis Tyrinopoulos, Anna Kortsari and Maria Chatziathanasiou

The chapter aims to serve the overall goals of the book by providing a sound collection of successful ICT implementations, barriers that prohibit the wider ICT deployment, as well as recommendations to tackle these barriers and to accelerate the take-up of advanced technologies in Europe. In this respect, threats and opportunities are directly addressed. The chapter also includes useful background information about European transport policy, with clear emphasis on ICT for transport, and the key stakeholders involved in the promotion of ICT in transport in Europe. Overall, 70 good practices have been reviewed on three different levels, those of transport sector, transport mode and thematic area. All 70 of them have been critically reviewed using specific criteria defined for that purpose, such as impacts of each ITS implementation, level of user acceptance and degree of penetration in the transport modes. Fifteen of these good practices have undergone a more thorough analysis. Several interesting findings related to ITS deployment across Europe have been derived, such as the vast majority of ITS applications implemented for road transport (64 per cent), following the predominance of road transport movements, and the use of Variable Message Signs on the Slovenian highways, where there has been a reduction of approximately 18 per cent in traffic accidents.