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Comparison of Capital Costs per Route-Kilometre in Urban Rail

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Because of the prominent position of urban rail in reducing urban transport-related problems, such as congestion and air pollution, insights into the costs of possible new urban rail projects is very relevant for those involved with cost estimations, policy makers, cost-benefit analysts, and other target groups. Knowledge of the differences in costs per kilometre, including explanations of differences and their breakdowns is currently lacking in the literature. This paper aims to provide a first stage insight into how cost per kilometre varies across urban rail projects. The methodology applied is a simple cost comparison across projects where the data collected are comparable. We conclude that capital costs per route-kilometre of urban rail vary highly between projects. Looking at European projects and excluding outliers, the total capital costs per route-kilometre (including stations and rolling stock) lie mainly between US$50-100 million (2002 prices). Including US projects, the range is US$50-150 million. The main reasons for the high variation in the route-kilometre costs are differences between projects as regards the ratio of underground to above-ground construction, ground conditions, station spacing, type of rolling stock, environmental and safety constraints and labour costs. We warn, however, that the observations used to reach the conclusions are too few to obtain results with statistical significance. Our results must therefore be seen as a first step towards collecting more data so that a more succinct statistical analysis can be conducted. Another conclusion is therefore that this area has future research potential.
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... Furthermore, cost deviations were found not to reduce over time, with larger projects tending to have a higher percentage of cost overruns. These works were later expanded by Flyvbjerg (2007aFlyvbjerg ( , 2007b, Flyvbjerg et al. (2004Flyvbjerg et al. ( , 2008, and the results and conclusions were confirmed. As already mentioned, other studies have found low levels of cost deviations, below 15% (Bordat et al., 2004;Ellis et al., 2007;Odeck, 2004;Odeck et al., 2015), while others have found cost deviations above 30%. ...
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