The Impact of Transport Infrastructure Investments Upon Competitiveness



The Impact of Transport Infrastructure Investments Upon Competitiveness

Authors

Jan Kiel, Panteia BV, Ruairidh Smith, Panteia BV, Barry Ubbels, Panteia BV

Description

The contribution of investments in transport infrastructure upon economic development has been the subject of considerable debate in economic literature.

This paper will consider the concept of competitiveness in relation to transport infrastructure investments.

As the concept of competitiveness and its measurement is not without debate, the author would like to discuss his findings with the audience.

The paper will provide some preliminary conclusions and recommendations on the relation between the transport infrastructure investments and competitiveness.

Abstract

The contribution of investments in transport infrastructure upon economic development has been the subject of considerable debate in economic literature. Conventional wisdom suggests that good transport facilities are essential in a region’s competitiveness and prosperity, by improving its access to the national and global markets and by removing bottlenecks in production, trade and economic integration. While this is most likely true, the research community disagrees on how the impacts of transport infrastructure should actually be measured.

The I-C-EU project sheds light on the relationship between transport infrastructure investment and its wider economic impacts, in particular in term of competitiveness and economic growth. This clarification will be made possible by exploring the state-of-the-art of the theoretical methodology of the assessment tools, analysing the current situation of the European economic and competitiveness as well as its present and future challenges and taking into account current European strategy being set to improve its economic performance and competitiveness.

Europe has realized that it must overcome a number of challenges if it wishes to remain competitive with the rest of the developed and developing world. Started in 2000 and expired in 2010, the Lisbon Agenda, has been the first action and development plan of the European Union aiming especially to make the EU the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion, by 2010. The Agenda was in the end admitted to be failure.

Based on the Lisbon Agenda experience, Europe 2020 Strategy was proposed in 2010 by the Commission, aiming at smart, sustainable, inclusive growth with greater coordination of national and European policy. Several targets of the new strategy have been fixed, such as the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% compared to 1990 levels or by 30% if the conditions are right, increase the share of renewable energy in final energy consumption to 20%, and achieve a 20% increase in energy efficiency.

The main objective of European transport policy, in line with the flagship initiative “Resource efficient Europe” set up in the Europe 2020 Strategy and the new Energy Efficiency Plan 2011, is to help establish a system that underpins European economic progress, enhances competitiveness and offers high quality mobility services while using resources more efficiently. By improving competitiveness the European Union wants to reach its general policy objectives.

Competitiveness has raised more awareness over the past two decades, due to limitations and challenges posed by globalisation. As the definition and measurement of competitiveness is not without discussion, the paper starts with a brief overview of the concept and the way it can be measured. Both sectoral and spatial competitiveness will be highlighted.

Having shed light on competitiveness, we will turn to transport infrastructure investments and their contribution to the transport system. The paper shows how investments contribute to improve the transport system and changes key variables such as time and distance.

The next section in this paper will connect the output of the transport system to the measurement of competitiveness. This is the part where the author would like to discuss his findings with the audience. The reason for this is the fact that competitiveness at a spatial level is a concept that still is under discussion.

The paper ends with some preliminary conclusions on the concept of the ‘transport system’, ‘competitiveness’ and the link between the two concepts.

Publisher

Association for European Transport