Economics: Infrastructure – railway upgrades


Chris Pike and Simon Rawlinson of Arcadis examine the contribution that innovative engineering can make to delivering better outcomes for all users

01 / The challenges of running a busy and congested rail network

The performance of the UK’s railways is critical to economic growth, jobs and productivity.  Economists Oxera estimated in 2014 that the annual total net benefits delivered to passengers and freight customers exceeded £14bn, more than justifying the current £38bn five-year public investment programme. Rail in particular has a critical role in the future economic development of the UK, highlighted by Transport for the North’s responsibilities as a devolved authority for funding and strategy planning. 

As a result, delays in the implementation of projects affect not only rail revenues but also the wider regional economy. However, although rail promotes growth, it is facing its own demand challenges.  With passenger numbers falling by 1.4% in 2017/18, the importance of meeting customer needs with a reliable and, affordable rail service has never been greater.

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