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Characteristics of Cost Overruns for Dutch Transport Infrastructure Projects and the Importance of the Decision to Build and Project Phases

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  • Chantal C. Cantarelli
  • Eric J. E. Molin
  • Bert van Wee
  • Bent Flyvbjerg

Abstract

Using a methodology similar to that used the in the worldwide research, the cost performance of Dutch large-scale transport infrastructure projects is determined. In the Netherlands, cost overruns are as common as cost underruns but because cost overruns are larger than cost underruns projects on average have a cost overrun of 16.5%. The focus on one country further enabled to consider cost overruns during different project development phases. It turned out that in the Netherlands the majority of the cost overrun occurs in the pre-construction phase (the period between the formal decision to build and the start of construction). The frequency as well as the magnitude of pre-construction cost overrun is significantly higher than in the construction phase. The used methodology of calculating cost overruns does however not take lock-in into account. This phenomenon shows that the real decision to build was taken much earlier in the decision-making process. Since estimated costs are usually lower during these earlier stages, the cost overruns based on this real decision to build are likely to be much higher. Cost overruns presented in studies are therefore often underestimated and the problem of cost overruns is much larger than we think.

Suggested Citation

  • Chantal C. Cantarelli & Eric J. E. Molin & Bert van Wee & Bent Flyvbjerg, 2013. "Characteristics of Cost Overruns for Dutch Transport Infrastructure Projects and the Importance of the Decision to Build and Project Phases," Papers 1307.2178, arXiv.org, revised Jan 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1307.2178
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Chantal C Cantarelli & Bent Flyvbjerg & Bert van Wee & Eric J E Molin, 2010. "Lock-in and its Influence on the Project Performance of Large-Scale Transportation Infrastructure Projects: Investigating the Way in Which Lock-in Can Emerge and Affect Cost Overruns," Environment and Planning B, , vol. 37(5), pages 792-807, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Edyta Plebankiewicz, 2018. "Model of Predicting Cost Overrun in Construction Projects," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(12), pages 1-14, November.
    2. Verweij, Stefan & van Meerkerk, Ingmar & Korthagen, Iris A., 2015. "Reasons for contract changes in implementing Dutch transportation infrastructure projects: An empirical exploration," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 195-202.
    3. Jarosław Górecki & Manuel Díaz-Madroñero, 2020. "Who Risks and Wins?—Simulated Cost Variance in Sustainable Construction Projects," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(8), pages 1-31, April.
    4. Love, Peter E.D. & Ahiaga-Dagbui, Dominic D., 2018. "Debunking fake news in a post-truth era: The plausible untruths of cost underestimation in transport infrastructure projects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 357-368.
    5. Love, Peter E.D. & Zhou, Jingyang & Edwards, David J. & Irani, Zahir & Sing, Chun-Pong, 2017. "Off the rails: The cost performance of infrastructure rail projects," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 14-29.
    6. Flyvbjerg, Bent & Ansar, Atif & Budzier, Alexander & Buhl, Søren & Cantarelli, Chantal & Garbuio, Massimo & Glenting, Carsten & Holm, Mette Skamris & Lovallo, Dan & Lunn, Daniel & Molin, Eric & Rønnes, 2018. "Five things you should know about cost overrun," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 174-190.
    7. Morten Skou Nicolaisen & Patrick A. Driscoll, 2016. "An International Review of Ex-Post Project Evaluation Schemes in the Transport Sector," Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management (JEAPM), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 18(01), pages 1-33, March.
    8. Chong, Uven & Hopkins, Omar, 2016. "An international experience on the evolution of road costs during the project life cycle," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 60-66.
    9. Brunes, Fredrik & Lind, Hans, 2014. "Explaining cost overruns in infrastructural projects: A new framework with applications to Sweden," Working Paper Series 14/1, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Banking and Finance.
    10. Awojobi, Omotola & Jenkins, Glenn P., 2016. "Managing the cost overrun risks of hydroelectric dams: An application of reference class forecasting techniques," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 19-32.
    11. Ihsan Issa Ahmad Hosani & Fikri T. Dweiri & Udechukwu Ojiako, 0. "A study of cost overruns in complex multi-stakeholder road projects in the United Arab Emirates," International Journal of System Assurance Engineering and Management, Springer;The Society for Reliability, Engineering Quality and Operations Management (SREQOM),India, and Division of Operation and Maintenance, Lulea University of Technology, Sweden, vol. 0, pages 1-10.
    12. Makovšek, Dejan, 2014. "Systematic construction risk, cost estimation mechanism and unit price movements," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 135-145.
    13. Miranda Sarmento, J.J., 2014. "Public private partnerships," Other publications TiSEM c7d4c978-234c-4f88-83ed-1, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
    14. Love, Peter E.D. & Ahiaga-Dagbui, Dominic D. & Irani, Zahir, 2016. "Cost overruns in transportation infrastructure projects: Sowing the seeds for a probabilistic theory of causation," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 184-194.
    15. Adriana Gómez-Cabrera & Amalia Sanz-Benlloch & Laura Montalban-Domingo & Jose Luis Ponz-Tienda & Eugenio Pellicer, 2020. "Identification of Factors Affecting the Performance of Rural Road Projects in Colombia," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(18), pages 1-18, September.
    16. Odeck, James, 2014. "Do reforms reduce the magnitudes of cost overruns in road projects? Statistical evidence from Norway," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 68-79.
    17. Steininger, Bertram & Groth, Martin & Weber, Birgitte, 2020. "Cost overruns and delays in infrastructure projects: the case of Stuttgart 21," Working Paper Series 20/11, Royal Institute of Technology, Department of Real Estate and Construction Management & Banking and Finance.
    18. Catalão, Francisco Pinheiro & Cruz, Carlos Oliveira & Sarmento, Joaquim Miranda, 2019. "The determinants of cost deviations and overruns in transport projects, an endogenous models approach," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 224-238.
    19. Asplund, Disa & Eliasson, Jonas, 2016. "Does uncertainty make cost-benefit analyses pointless?," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 195-205.
    20. Dejan Makovšek & Marian Moszoro, 2018. "Risk pricing inefficiency in public–private partnerships," Transport Reviews, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 38(3), pages 298-321, May.
    21. Love, Peter E.D. & Sing, Michael C.P. & Ika, Lavagnon A. & Newton, Sidney, 2019. "The cost performance of transportation projects: The fallacy of the Planning Fallacy account," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 1-20.
    22. Miller, Michael & Szimba, Eckhard, 2015. "How to avoid unrealistic appraisal results? A concept to reflect the occurrence of risk in the appraisal of transport infrastructure projects," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 65-75.

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