On the Wider Economic Impacts of Transport Projects

Professor Roger Vickerman delivered a keynote lecture to the University of Hong Kong’s influential Institute of Transport Studies on 25 April. His lecture, titled ‘On the Wider Economic Impacts of Transport Projects’, was part of the Institute’s Distinguished Transport Lecture Series 2012.

During his lecture, Professor Vickerman looked at the methodologies currently used to determine whether transport projects bring wider economic benefits.

Professor Vickerman said: ‘There is at least a popular belief that major transport infrastructure projects give rise to benefits which are not captured in conventional investment appraisal. The building of a metro network, a major airport or a high-speed rail line will have ramifications which go beyond the simple measurement of time savings or reductions in accidents.

However, substantiating the idea with a methodology which is both theoretically sound and empirically applicable has proved challenging. Approaches have been refined in recent years and the empirical evidence has become more robust and convincing, showing that any such impacts need not always be beneficial.

This presentation reviewed the arguments for consideration of wider impacts and their treatment. It concluded with recommendations for the development of transparent procedures to ensure consistent treatment of such impacts.’

Roger’s lecture was part of a visit by senior figures from the University to strengthen its links in Hong Kong. Kent Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia M Goodfellow led a high-level delegation to meet members of the Hong Kong business community and the University’s Hong Kong Alumni Association on 24 April. The visit came as part of the University’s £2 million Hong Kong and China Portal fundraising campaign, launched in 2010.

Roger Vickerman is Professor of European Economics at Kent and Director of its Centre for European, Regional and Transport Economics. He is also Dean of the University’s Brussels School of International Studies.