Handling Risk and Irreversibility of Transport Interventions

Handling Risk and Irreversibility of Transport Interventions


F Ramjerdi and N Fearnley, TØI, NO; M Givoni and J Macmillen, UOXF, UK



Infrastructure decisions and transport policies are often based on the notion that all possible decisions are made at one single point in time, based on the best accessible evaluation of benefits and costs of alternatives. Transport sector is a complex and dynamic system. Inherent in the complexities are; uncertainty, risk, irreversibility, path dependency and lock-in effects. The dynamics of transport systems are determined by the interplay of the many different systems often with different time lags.
The early identification of unintended adverse effects after the introduction of measures or policy packages can help significantly to improve their effectiveness and increase the chance of meeting the goals they were designed to meet. While it is imperative to address the unintended adverse effects ex ante, there is no prescription and blue print for a correcting procedure. Hence, it is important to address the flexibility to change policy measures if intentions and outcome do not match.
Risk and uncertainty and irreversibility are in general weakly understood by public officials. Hence it is an important task to improve risk assessment, risk valuation and risk management. And in general how to change planning framework to embrace risk and flexibility and from a static thinking associated with traditional methods to methods of dynamic planning where decisions are made continuously and based on steady flow of new information.
This paper will discuss risk assessment, risk valuation and risk management in general, in ex-ante and ex-post.


Association for European Transport