Delivering Major Infrastructure Projects with Predictable Success

Delivering Major Infrastructure Projects with Predictable Success

Roger James Allport (Allport Associates Ltd., UK)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0001-8.ch009


The inconvenient truth is that metro development, that is the focus of this paper, with some notable exceptions, fails to deliver the outcomes promised when implementation was committed. This fact undermines the confidence city leaders and national treasuries have in supporting metro development in furtherance of public policy. This matters because metros can become the catalytic centre-piece of sustainable development for some cities, and because the cost of failure is so large. There are exemplars of good practice worldwide and a strong evidence base on which to determine what is needed to improve success. This paper reviews the evidence and presents new research findings to recommend an Agenda for Change. This can practically be implemented and lead to progressive improvement.
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Today’s economic austerity has raised the bar for infrastructure justification as city and national leaders face difficult resource allocation decisions. Never has this issue been more relevant or urgent. But increasingly the success of these megaprojects is being questioned, with empirical research revealing a wide-scale problem. Some commentators have sought to explain why this happens and what is required to remedy the identified failings.

New research reveals new insights into the nature and cause of problems, and develops a practical Agenda for Change that is considered appropriate to the problems identified. The purpose of the paper is to describe these results. This requires a change in approach for central government bureaucrats and authority sponsors, together with major change to the practices of planning and project management. Its implementation will depend upon most stakeholders doing things differently and better. Its consequence will be different projects developed in different ways that – crucially – deliver predictable success. Then support for metro development where it is appropriate can grow with the expectation that it will secure its promised strategic benefits without unwelcome surprises. To this extent this paper may be seen as fundamental to sound planning, and therefore to supporting the efficacy of public sector decision-making.

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