I went to a lecture recently by Professor Emeritus Robert Cervero of the University of Berkeley at the University of Toronto as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series of the Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering at University of Toronto. His specialty is sustainable transportation policy and planning and his focus in the lecture was NMT – non-motorized transport. His […]

ASCE – The American Society of Civil Engineers – has released its 2017 Infrastructure Report Card. America’s infrastructure scores a D+[1]. The ASCE wants to make America’s infrastructure great again. The ASCE does the ranking based on 8 criteria: Capacity; Condition; Funding; Future Need; Operation and Maintenance; Public Safety; Resilience; and Innovation. How would the ASCE handle a case where Capacity […]

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) provides infrastructure decision-makers with information on what to build, how to design, build, and finance a project and how to prioritize when funds are scarce. What more could we ask from this over 100-year old tool? As we rush headlong towards possible infrastructure asset sales, public private partnerships, tax credit incentives, and other get-someone-rich-quick schemes we […]

Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) provides infrastructure decision-makers with information on what to build, how to design, build, and finance a project and how to prioritize when funds are scarce. What more could we ask from this over 100-year old tool? As we rush headlong towards possible infrastructure asset sales, public private partnerships, tax credit incentives, and other get-someone-rich-quick schemes we […]

A guide to making infrastructure decisions impartially, rationally, and sensibly. A colleague recommended a Brooking Institution paper and it is a great read. Here are some extracts (emphasis and formatting added) from a recent (February 2017) paper from The Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution: If you build it: A guide to the economics of infrastructure investment By Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, Ryan Nunn, and Greg Nantz. America’s infrastructure […]

Both Trump and Trudeau are enamoured with getting the private sector involved in public infrastructure projects. But analyzing value for money before deciding what to build, why to build it, how to build it and where to put it, they are putting the cart before the horse. Trudeau is pushing ahead with an Infrastructure Bank whose mandate is to “make […]

Should you get an extra LEED point? The way to frame the question is of course, is it worth the effort, will you or others benefit from the incremental work? To use economics jargon – what’s the marginal value of LEED? In our research, we have turned up an interesting paper that quantifies this. The paper only looks at the rental […]

This podcast scared the living daylights out of me: “Are exhausts causing dementia?” Vehicle emissions are the source of magnetite nanoparticles go right up our noses and onto our brains. When I think about what I breathe in everyday on my bike into the city I start imaging the reason I forgot my keys was because of what I am inhaling. The only silver lining […]

Trump and Trudeau might disagree on climate policy but they seem to agree on preferring public-private over government investment in infrastructure. Both want to build bridges between public and private infrastructure. Paul Krugman questions why the private sector needs to be involved at all. Trump’s infrastructure plan (extract with emphasis added): Leverage new revenues and work with financing authorities, public-private partnerships, and other […]

There are thousands of grade crossings in North America. Each is a safety concern. About every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train in the US. Roads and railways don’t mix – that is why we have signaled crossings when traffic warrants it. In this post I am going to show you how economic analysis can be linked […]