Transportation infrastructure projects, of all types, fall within the domain of public investments that reflect public sector priorities and objectives, non-pecuniary and financial constraints, and decision-making processes. Since infrastructure investments typically affect large populations, extend over large territories and carry substantial opportunity costs, many western democracies have instituted formal procedures for quantitatively appraising their multiple outcomes as aides in choosing optimal projects. These procedures, their underlying rationale, analytical structure and empirical applications are subjects of graduate classes in various fields of academic studies, including economics, public policy, civil engineering, city planning and environmental studies. Governments, at all levels, have engaged numerous professionals and resources in the technical analysis of specific infrastructure projects. These undertakings encompass highly skilled activities ranging from the coding of networks—highways and rail—to estimating travel time and the ensuing costs/savings, to assessing the monetary returns on the investment and its alternatives.
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