Cost–benefit Analysis, Planning and Innovation
- Transport Economics, Management and Policy series
Edited by Hugo Priemus, Bent Flyvbjerg and Bert van Wee
Chapter 7: Public Planning of Mega-Projects: Overestimation of Demand and Underestimation of Costs
7. Public planning of mega-projects: overestimation of demand and underestimation of costs Bent Flyvbjerg 7.1 INTRODUCTION Despite the enormous sums of money being spent on transportation infrastructure, surprisingly little systematic knowledge exists about the costs, beneﬁts and risks involved. The literature lacks statistically valid answers to the central and self-evident question of whether transportation infrastructure projects perform as forecasted. When a project underperforms, this is often explained away as an isolated instance of unfortunate circumstance; it is typically not seen as the particular expression of a general pattern of underperformance in transportation infrastructure projects. Because knowledge is lacking in this area of research, until now it has been impossible to validly refute or conﬁrm whether underperformance is the exception or the rule. Knowledge about demand risk, cost risk and compound risk is crucial to planners and decision-makers when developing projects and deciding which to build and which not. For transportation infrastructure projects, the beneﬁts and costs involved often run into hundreds of millions of dollars, with risks being correspondingly high. Estimates of the ﬁnancial viability of projects are heavily dependent on the accuracy of traﬃc demand and construction cost forecasts (Pickrell, 1990; Richmond, 1998). Such forecasts are also the basis for socioeconomic and environmental appraisal of transportation infrastructure projects. According to the experiences gained with the accuracy of demand and cost forecasting in the transportation sector, there is evidence that such forecasting, despite all scientiﬁc progress in modelling, is a major source of uncertainty and...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.