Urban Infrastructure: Transport Appraisal

Chapter number fourteen, called “Transport Appraisal from the book by Cowie, is focused on exploring the structure of investment in the transportation system and its financing. Besides, the chapter studies the meaning and value of time and its relationship with the employees’ wages. Cowie lists the factors that shape the amount of time and accident for various European counties’ transportation systems and compares the time value and the accident cost in the United Kingdom to the ones of Sweden, Portugal, and Greece. These factors can be material, such as the costs of medical treatment of the injured, or non-material such as the transportation system’s overall reputation and the public feeling that it is unsafe (Cowie, 2009, p. 350).

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The author also explains that various cost valuations may be used for different types of transport. This depends on the control factor, which means that the attitude and evaluation of the means of transportations are different depending on who controls a vehicle. For example, traveling by trains or metro, the passengers feel less in control than traveling by car. The costs of accidents are high, and this is why the investors should be aware of the approximate possibility of accidents, their numbers, and general costs on the new road networks before opening them. To project the approximate number of possible accidents on certain roads, engineers employ regression techniques (Cowie, 2009, p. 351). Another vital aspect of road and transportation evaluation is operating cost. The road’s operating cost for its users depends directly on the average speed levels and congestion on the road.

Metz called “The Myth of Travel Time Saving” obviously is focused on researching the importance of saving travel time and its connection and relationship with the transport infrastructure and its benefits. Metz notes that travel time saving is one of the primary and most essential concepts of transport economics; it’s projecting and analysis. The author points out that it is commonly accepted that travelers usually try to reduce the time they spend on transport to the minimum because they would rather be doing something else. This is why the roads and transportation that allow saving the travel time are more valuable and socially appraised.

Metz explores another vital aspect of transport that is likely to significantly impact the value of transport infrastructure and its benefits. This aspect is access to transportation. The author states that the access to transport is in a strong relationship with the rates of employment and the levels of exclusion of some social groups from obtaining employment opportunities (Metz, 2008, p. 322). Besides, transport provides passengers opportunities for participation in social life, receiving medical services, shopping, and having leisure. The author of the article views access as the basis of the motivation for traveling and a more critical aspect for evaluating transportation networks. The work by Metz s focused only on the exploration of the meaning and value of transportation of individuals, but not the flows of goods. The paper focuses on arguing that it is more reasonable to focus the investments into improving access rather than trying to reduce travel time.

Chapter number three in “Urban Infrastructure: Finance and Management,” written by Wellman and Spiller and called “Urban Infrastructure, productivity, project evaluation, and finance,” explores the decision-making process behind the investment into the urban infrastructure. This process is based on the infrastructure analysis from the point of view of its productivity and evaluating the ways of investment and the most appropriate time to invest. The authors note that efficient infrastructure is very important for promoting the country’s economy and prosperity; besides, it brings both social and environmental benefits and makes the country a stronger competitor in the world’s economic arena (Wellman & Spiller, 2012, p. 54).

Before the investment into the urban infrastructure is made, the distributional consequences and service outputs need to be estimated. The article explores the cost-benefit analysis and approaches towards it; it also focuses on the aspect of project evaluation and the techniques it employs. Moreover, the author notes that after the decision to invest in a project is made, the most crucial discussion lies in the projection of the process and way of financing as well as financing options. The purpose of the chapter is to establish which factors influence the productivity of the urban infrastructure project investment, to identify the choices of projects and the criteria that support these choices, and the most appropriate financing options for various kinds of projects. The authors of the chapter view the decision-making process as a two-sided operation where social and political benefits have to be identified and evaluated before putting the project into practice and financing it.

The article by Spiller called “Social Justice and the Centralisation of Governance in the Australian Metropolis: A Case Study of Melbourne” is designed to point out the interdependence between the social division and low social mobility in Australian metropolises such as Melbourne and the State Governments and the local metropolis communities. The author of the article is determined to demonstrate that the improvement of social mobility and the reduction of low density in the metropolises of Australia are the necessary factors with will allow the country to obtain a better and more advanced economy and will make Australia a much stronger competitor on the world’s economic market.

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The currently employed urban infrastructure of the Australian metropolises does not allow creating a connected and dense city, on the contrary, the cities and their districts are spread out, and the infrastructure is mainly centralized (Spiller, 2014, p. 368). This slows down social mobility, which is responsible for the movement of the individuals between the social classes and influences the social opportunities of employment and leisure. The author of the article suggests reviewing the new urban policy initiatives and opportunities for investment into the infrastructure projects and altering their direction, providing the social community of metropolises of Australia with a voice and a chance of expression of their free will. This will definitely improve the social benefit criteria of urban infrastructure projects and investments. The author of the article also states that a more dense and socially mobile metropolis is also much more productive and has the capacity of offering more employment and education opportunities, which will improve the quality, efficiency, and quantity of human capital.

Chapter number three of “The Geography of Transport Systems,” written by Rodrigue, Slack, and Comtois and called “Transportation Modes,” studies various types of transport as a means to support mobility. The authors of the book group the transportation modes according to the medium they rely on, such as water, air, and land. The chapter explores each of the methods in detail, researching their features and the ways they employ to fulfill the demands of the passengers. The chapter describes road and rail transportations, pipelines, air, and water transportation; besides, it researches intermodal transport, which is based on the use of several kinds of vehicles. Moreover, the author discusses whether telecommunications can be considered as a way of transportation even though they do not have a physical aspect.

The chapter explores the competition between various transportation modes, the demand for them, and their popularity. The authors notice that one of the most critical aspects of the evaluation of multiple methods is the relationship between travel time and the cost of transport (Rodrigue, 2009). The transportation modes may overlap geographically and based on the services they offer. The authors also state that the increasing levels of income in the society and the rapidly developing process of globalization, and the factors that enforce traveling. The competition between the modes of transportation thus has a paradigm based on three main dimensions. They are modal usage, infrastructural usage, and market area. The authors emphasize that it is essential to provide modal equality in society, which means that the evaluation of the modes of transportation should be based on their inherent characteristics. It is also noted that the growth of incomes stimulates the transition of social preferences from the collective to personal modes.

The article by Love, Regan, and Smith called “Infrastructure procurement: Learning from private-public partnership experiences ‘down under’” studies the public-private partnership market in Australia. The authors of the article reveal some miscalculations and failures that occur in the new public-private market in Australia even though it is considered to be overall well-developed and advanced. The report is designed to explore the primary and most essential concepts that shape the structure of the public-private partnership market and determine its success and efficiency.

Love, Regan, and Smith also study the problems that the Australian economic infrastructure project planning faces. The efficiency of public-private partnerships is known to be highly important and useful if appropriately planned. The earlier researches were based on the determination of the ways these partnerships function, the influences they create, and the ways they are used in the marketplace. These aspects are deemed to be crucial. At the same time, the authors of “Infrastructure procurement: Learning from private-public partnership experiences ‘down under’” make a conclusion that the research of the usage of public-private partnerships in the marketplace and its results and outcomes are less effective if specific improvements of the blocks are not employed. Love, Regan, and Smith suggest modifying the partnerships first and eliminating the errors and failures in them and only then thinking through the ways of application and usage of these partnerships. In order to achieve public infrastructure outcomes through the use of the private sector, but this form of infrastructure delivery is only efficient when it is capable of providing long-term results for its stakeholders (Regan, Smith & Love, 2011, p. 370).

References

Cowie, J. 2009′ Transport Appraisal’, The economics of transport a theoretical and applied perspective, New York, London, Routledge, pp. 337-360.

Metz, D., 2008. ‘The Myth of Travel Time Saving,’ Transport Reviews, vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 321-336.

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Regan, M., Smith, J., & Love, P., 2011. ‘Infrastructure procurement: learning from private-public partnership experiences ‘down under”, Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, vol. 29, no. 2, pp. 363-378

Rodrigue, J. P., Comtois, C. & Slack, B. 2009. ‘Transportation Modes,’ The geography of transport systems. Hoboken, Taylor & Francis.

Spiller, M. 2014 ‘Social Justice and the Centralisation of Governance in the Australian Metropolis: A Case Study of Melbourne,’ Urban Policy and Research, vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 361-380

Wellman, K., & Spiller, M. 2012 ‘Urban Infrastructure, productivity, project evaluation, and finance,’ Urban Infrastructure: Finance and Management, Hoboken, Wiley & Sons, pp. 53-81.

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