International Handbook on Mega-Projects
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International Handbook on Mega-Projects

Edited by Hugo Priemus and Bert van Wee

This comprehensive and accessible Handbook presents state-of-the-art research on the decision-making processes in the deliverance of mega-projects – large infrastructure projects for the transportation of people and/or goods.
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Chapter 17: The wider economic impacts of mega-projects in transport

Roger Vickerman


Mega-projects in transport are frequently justified on the basis of the wider impacts they will have on the economy. Often these wider impacts are specified rather vaguely in terms of being essential for the competitiveness of the city or country in question. This argument has been used in the context of the expansion of hub airports (Frontier Economics, 2011), the development of high-speed rail networks (Department for Transport, 2012), major metropolitan rail network developments (Crossrail, 2005) or road developments such as Boston’s ‘Big Dig’ (Altshuler and Luberoff, 2003). Although the argument has been growing in importance as a justification for these projects, it is not a new one. The US Inter-State Highway Programme of the 1950s used an economic argument (Mohring and Harwitz, 1962) and this was reiterated in the development of the TransEuropean Transport Networks (TEN-T) in Europe (CEC, 2009).

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