Scope to reduce the cost of big transport investments?

Professor Tom Rye

There is huge demand for new transport infrastructure as local and national government try to deal with congestion, increase social inclusion or regenerate local economies.  Increasing connectivity is a key objective of Scotland’s National Transport Strategy – and that means building things, such as the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme or Waverley Line reopening on the railways, or the dualling of the A9 between Dunkeld and Inverness.  A question that is rarely asked, however, is whether we are paying more than our continental European counterparts to build such schemes.

The differences in headline costs for these schemes are striking.Our initial research shows that recent tramline extensions in Germany built on-street in dense urban areas cost between €15 and
€20 million per km, compared to €50 million per km here. The differences
in the costs of reopenings of old railway lines appear even larger.