A New Paradigm for the Assessment of High Speed Rail Projects and How to Contain Cost Overruns: Lessons from the EVA-TREN Project

15 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2011

See all articles by Tristan Chevroulet

Tristan Chevroulet

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Liana Giorgi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Christian Reynaud

NESTEAR-Nouveax Espaces de Transport en Europe Applications de Recherche

Date Written: April 3, 2011

Abstract

The appraisal of large-scale transport projects cannot be relied upon. A review of the EU Cohesion Fund programme reveals that one project in four incurs costs that are 20% above budget. Deviations in cost, duration and environmental impact are especially problematic because such investments usually last several years, yield significant impacts and their costs reach billions of Euros. Based on recent research and a critical review of the state-of-the-art in policy and scientific literature, this contribution investigates the causes of deviation between project appraisals and real outcomes. Its main argument is that projects with poor to average technical assessments are more likely to face changes in design and/or environmental and other requirements and, therefore, delays in implementation. This, in turn, leads to significant cost overruns. What this suggests is that project maturity is a function of the robustness of the technical and scientific expertise that underlies project appraisal, and that only such project maturity is a guarantee for efficient and effective implementation. On this basis it proposes a new framework for organizing transport infrastructure assessments and for monitoring the implementation process.

Keywords: infrastructure planning, project appraisal, assessment methods, trans-European networks, international comparison, cost-benefit analysis, demand evaluation, reference class, TEN, HST, HSR, AVE, ICE, TGV, EVA-TREN

Suggested Citation

Chevroulet, Tristan and Giorgi, Liana and Reynaud, Christian, A New Paradigm for the Assessment of High Speed Rail Projects and How to Contain Cost Overruns: Lessons from the EVA-TREN Project (April 3, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1910565 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1910565

Tristan Chevroulet

Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne ( email )

Station 5
Odyssea 1.04
1015 Lausanne, CH-1015
Switzerland

Liana Giorgi (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Christian Reynaud

NESTEAR-Nouveax Espaces de Transport en Europe Applications de Recherche ( email )

12, Avenue Raspail
Gentilly, 94250
France

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