Policy and Planning for Large-Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, Cures

Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 578-597

21 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2013 Last revised: 15 Jan 2014

See all articles by Bent Flyvbjerg

Bent Flyvbjerg

University of Oxford - Said Business School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: March 1, 2007

Abstract

This paper focuses on problems and their causes and cures in policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects. First, it identifies as the main problem in major infrastructure developments pervasive misinformation about the costs, benefits, and risks involved. A consequence of misinformation is cost overruns, benefit shortfalls, and waste. Second, it explores the causes of misinformation and finds that political-economic explanations best account for the available evidence: planners and promoters deliberately misrepresent costs, benefits, and risks in order to increase the likelihood that it is their projects, and not those of their competition, that gain approval and funding. This results in the `survival of the unfittest', in which often it is not the best projects that are built, but the most misrepresented ones. Finally, it presents measures for reforming policy and planning for large-infrastructure projects with a focus on better planning methods and changed governance structures, the latter being more important.

This paper won the Prize for Best Published Paper, awarded by the Association of European Schools of Planning, 2008.

Listed as "Most Downloaded" article on the journal's home page. Listed on SSRN's Top Ten Download List for Infrastructure.

Keywords: tunnels, roads, passenger traffic, transportation infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure projects, vehicle traffic, transportation, road traffic, rail traffic, rail, passengers, rail projects, costs, traffic, rail passenger, traffic demand, road, road projects, vehicle

Suggested Citation

Flyvbjerg, Bent, Policy and Planning for Large-Infrastructure Projects: Problems, Causes, Cures (March 1, 2007). Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, vol. 34, no. 4, pp. 578-597. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2230414

Bent Flyvbjerg (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Said Business School ( email )

Park End Street
Oxford, OX1 1HP
Great Britain

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