IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Assessing the employment agglomeration and social accessibility impacts of high speed rail in Eastern Australia


  • David Hensher
  • Richard Ellison
  • Corinne Mulley


There is growing interest in establishing additional evidence, under the umbrella of the wider economy impacts of transport infrastructure projects, to support transport projects in general and public transport projects in particular that struggle to obtain benefit–cost ratios sufficient to gain the support of financial agencies. This paper focuses on one element of wider economy impacts, often referred to as effective economic (employment) density or employment agglomeration impacts, and another, less usually identified, social accessibility impact (SAI) which we refer to as effective social density, which in broad terms provide, correspondingly, evidence of the potential gains in work-related output (often referred to as productivity gains) and potential gains in non-work-related outputs. Both are associated with gains in individual and household benefit attributable to improved accessibility to services linked with populations and particular locations. The SAIs may capture some of the induced benefits in those jurisdictions where these are included routinely in benefit–cost analysis, and the methodology here is most appropriate to those settings where an existing calibrated demand curve may not be available. Using the proposed high speed rail (HSR) project between Sydney and Melbourne as the empirical setting, we identify economic agglomeration and social accessibility benefits for work and non-work related activity respectively. We find the former to be relatively small compared to the significant gains associated with non-work related travel activity, suggesting the greatest benefits associated with HSR, especially for those residents outside of the major metropolitan areas, will be non-work related travel activity. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Suggested Citation

  • David Hensher & Richard Ellison & Corinne Mulley, 2014. "Assessing the employment agglomeration and social accessibility impacts of high speed rail in Eastern Australia," Transportation, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 463-493, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:41:y:2014:i:3:p:463-493
    DOI: 10.1007/s11116-013-9480-7

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Levinson, David M., 2012. "Accessibility impacts of high-speed rail," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 288-291.
    2. David C. Maré & Daniel J. Graham, 2009. "Agglomeration Elasticities in New Zealand," Working Papers 09_06, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    3. De Rus Mendoza Ginés (ed.), 2009. "Economic Analysis of High Speed Rail in Europe," Reports, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation, number 2011112, July-Dece.
    4. Truong, Truong P. & Hensher, David A., 2012. "Linking discrete choice to continuous demand within the framework of a computable general equilibrium model," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(9), pages 1177-1201.
    5. Timothy J. Bartik, 2012. "Including Jobs in Benefit-Cost Analysis," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 55-73, August.
    6. Bain, Stuart & Hensher, David A. & Li, Zheng, 2011. "R-Tresis: developing a transport model system for regional New South Wales," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 615-622.
    7. Hensher, David A., 1997. "A practical approach to identifying the market potential for high speed rail: A case study in the Sydney-Canberra corridor," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 431-446, November.
    8. Melo, Patricia C. & Graham, Daniel J. & Noland, Robert B., 2009. "A meta-analysis of estimates of urban agglomeration economies," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 332-342, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Levine, Jonathan & Merlin, Louis & Grengs, Joe, 2017. "Project-level accessibility analysis for land-use planning," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 107-119.
    2. Yutong Xue & Pengcheng Xiang, 2020. "The Social Risk of High-Speed Rail Projects in China: A Bayesian Network Analysis," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(5), pages 1-23, March.
    3. Shi, Wenming & Lin, Kun-Chin & McLaughlin, Heather & Qi, Guanqiu & Jin, Mengjie, 2020. "Spatial distribution of job opportunities in China: Evidence from the opening of the high-speed rail," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 138-147.
    4. Merlin, Louis A. & Levine, Jonathan & Grengs, Joe, 2018. "Accessibility analysis for transportation projects and plans," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 35-48.
    5. Stewart, Anson F. & Zegras, P. Christopher, 2016. "CoAXs: A Collaborative Accessibility-based Stakeholder Engagement System for communicating transport impacts," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 423-433.
    6. Liqian Deng & Yaodong Zhou & Zhipeng Li & Zujie Zhang & Jiaoli Cai, 2024. "Do High-Speed Rail Networks Promote Coupling Coordination between Employment and Industry Output? A Study Based on Evidence from China," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 16(3), pages 1-16, January.
    7. Repolho, Hugo M. & Church, Richard L. & Antunes, António P., 2016. "Optimizing station location and fleet composition for a high-speed rail line," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 437-452.
    8. Li, He & Lu, Juan & Guo, Feiyu, 2022. "High speed rail and corporate social responsibility performance: Analysis of intra-regional location and inter-regional spillover," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 65-75.
    9. Zhao Yun & Bi Chongren, 2019. "An Agent-Based Simulation Model of Knowledge Spillover Under the Influence of High-Speed Railway," Journal of Systems Science and Information, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 99-114, April.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Hensher, David A. & Truong, Truong P. & Mulley, Corinne & Ellison, Richard, 2012. "Assessing the wider economy impacts of transport infrastructure investment with an illustrative application to the North-West Rail Link project in Sydney, Australia," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 292-305.
    2. Andersson, Matts & Dehlin, Fredrik & Jörgensen, Peter & Pädam, Sirje, 2015. "Wider economic impacts of accessibility: a literature survey," Working papers in Transport Economics 2015:14, CTS - Centre for Transport Studies Stockholm (KTH and VTI).
    3. Dobruszkes, Frédéric & Dehon, Catherine & Givoni, Moshe, 2014. "Does European high-speed rail affect the current level of air services? An EU-wide analysis," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 461-475.
    4. Maré, David C. & Graham, Daniel J., 2013. "Agglomeration elasticities and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 44-56.
    5. Graham, Daniel J. & Gibbons, Stephen, 2019. "Quantifying Wider Economic Impacts of agglomeration for transport appraisal: Existing evidence and future directions," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 1-1.
    6. Hensher, David A. & Ho, Chinh Q. & Ellison, Richard B., 2019. "Simultaneous location of firms and jobs in a transport and land use model," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 110-121.
    7. Stanis£Aw Brzeziñski & Dariusz Liszewski, 2014. "Development Perspectives Of Passenger Rail Transport In Poland And Chosen European Union Countries," Advanced Logistic systems, University of Miskolc, Department of Material Handling and Logistics, vol. 8(2), pages 5-10, December.
    8. David C. Maré, 2016. "Urban Productivity Estimation with Heterogeneous Prices and Labour," Working Papers 16_21, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    9. Colas, Mark & Saulnier, Emmett, 2023. "Vertical migration externalities," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C).
    10. Ekaterina Aleksandrova & Kristian Behrens & Maria Kuznetsova, 2020. "Manufacturing (co)agglomeration in a transition country: Evidence from Russia," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 88-128, January.
    11. Carozzi, Felipe & Roth, Sefi, 2023. "Dirty density: Air quality and the density of American cities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 118(C).
    12. Jason P. Brown & Dayton M. Lambert & Raymond J. G. M. Florax, 2013. "The Birth, Death, and Persistence of Firms: Creative Destruction and the Spatial Distribution of U.S. Manufacturing Establishments, 2000–2006," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(3), pages 203-226, July.
    13. Federico Curci, 2015. "The taller the better? Agglomeration determinants and urban structure," ERSA conference papers ersa15p991, European Regional Science Association.
    14. Daniel Albalate & Germá Bel, 2015. "La experiencia internacional en alta velocidad ferroviaria," Working Papers 2015-02, FEDEA.
    15. Roberto Ganau & Andrés Rodríguez-Pose, 2022. "Does urban concentration matter for changes in country economic performance?," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 59(6), pages 1275-1299, May.
    16. Yang, Zhiwei & Li, Can & Jiao, Jingjuan & Liu, Wei & Zhang, Fangni, 2020. "On the joint impact of high-speed rail and megalopolis policy on regional economic growth in China," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 20-30.
    17. Laird, James J. & Venables, Anthony J., 2017. "Transport investment and economic performance: A framework for project appraisal," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 1-11.
    18. Neil Lee, 2017. "Powerhouse of cards? Understanding the ‘Northern Powerhouse’," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(3), pages 478-489, March.
    19. Canca, David & Barrena, Eva, 2018. "The integrated rolling stock circulation and depot location problem in railway rapid transit systems," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 109(C), pages 115-138.
    20. Yu Shen & Jinhua Zhao, 2017. "Capacity constrained accessibility of high-speed rail," Transportation, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 395-422, March.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:transp:v:41:y:2014:i:3:p:463-493. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.