Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Transport Infrastructure and Economic Performance

Course Date: 4th to 5th April 2019

Course Fee: £750

The politics of devolved decision-making to cities has put the spotlight on how transport affects economic performance.  Growth Deals, City Deals, transport infrastructure funds and Payment by Results are the outcomes of the new politics.  Transport schemes are now judged and prioritised on their expected economic outcomes.  Like it or not Gross Value Added and jobs are now part of the lexicon in transport planning, but: 

  • Have we got the right tools to be making decisions based on GVA and jobs? 
  • Are these tools being applied correctly? 
  • What is a reasonable level of economic impact?  And;
  • Underlying all that why do we expect transport to affect the economy?  

Judging from the many claims and counter-claims of ‘expected’ economic impact in the media, it may seem like the economic performance of transport has been reduced to rhetoric. 

The primary aim of this course is therefore to give transport professionals the knowledge to see through the rhetoric and understand the fundamentals regarding the role that transport can play in shaping the economy and how those impacts can be brought into appraisal. After attending this course transport professionals will: 

  • have a solid grasp of how, when, why and to what extent transport infrastructure affects businesses and the economy,
  • understand how to incorporate economic impacts into a transport cost benefit analysis, and
  • understand alternatives to cost benefit analysis  

The course is aimed at the practitioner and includes worked examples.  This subject matter is an emerging area of knowledge and no textbook exists on the subject.  The course materials have been drawn together through the research and expertise of ITS staff.  This course is unique to the UK and in the UK.

The course contains material on three themes.  The first theme is concerned with how transport affects businesses, and transport’s place in regional growth theories.  This includes the size and nature of the impacts that transport infrastructure has on the economy.  The second theme gives an introduction to regional economy modelling methods including reduced form models and input-output models. It touches on land use transport interaction models and computable general equilibrium.  The third theme brings together the two earlier parts and examines how economy impacts can be incorporated into appraisal both within either a cost benefit analysis paradigm or in a GVA prioritisation approach. 

The course is suitable for transport professionals already working in the field of economy impacts of transport as well as those who intend to become involved in this field.  It is targeted at:

  • Consultants and government officials who are estimating economy impacts;
  • Government officials who need to understand the economy impacts of transport so as to present to Councillors or Ministers; and
  • Academics and postgraduate students who may be embarking on research in this field.

About the course tutors

Dr James Laird.  James is a transport economist with more than 20 years’ experience.  This has included the development of guidelines for the appraisal of economic productivity effects in transport appraisal in the US, work on the wider economic benefits of rail investments, research on rural transport economy impacts, review work on different methods for examining transport-economy impacts, assessing re-generation impacts of transport projects, ex post studies on the economic impacts of rail investments, Cohesion Fund funded transport projects and the productivity impacts of road schemes.  He is one of the co-authors of the influential Transport Investment and Economic Performance report and an advisory role in the development of the new webTAG wider impacts guidance.  James has extensive experience of delivering training across a range levels and organisations, encompassing postgraduates and business clients.

Daniel Johnson. Daniel is a transport economist with 15 years’ experience working at ITS specialising in public and freight transport modelling and appraisal. He recently led a project on econometric modelling of transport’s impact on employment for DfT and Greener Journeys, a consortium of bus operators. He has also recently worked on development of guidelines for transport appraisal in the US alongside Dr. Laird and Professor Mackie. He has been involved in work on real productivity differentials for the DfT, the impact of transport on the economy for Greener Journeys and an ex post evaluation of the employment impacts of rail schemes.  Daniel has extensive experience of delivering training across a range levels and organisations, encompassing undergraduates, postgraduates and business clients.

Further information & how to book

The course will be held in ITS training facilities at the University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT, and is open to ITS Masters students and external delegates. The fee includes learning materials, lunch and refreshments during the course, but not overnight accommodation. The course is also available as bespoke or in-company training. Course bookings and other enquiries can be made via:


Short Courses Co-ordinator:
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 9904
Email: cpd(at)

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