Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Danish expert investigates cost overruns in Dutch mega projects

24.09.2007
Lying pays off. According to prof.dr. Bent Flyvbjerg of Delft University of Technology, that’s how one can characterize the planning of some mega projects.

In his inaugural speech on Wednesday September 26th, he explains why the costs of large-scale projects, such as High Speed Rail projects, new motorways, and the Channel Tunnel, systematically turn out to be higher than was forecast. In the coming years the Danish professor will focus on cost overruns in major Dutch projects.

Flyvbjerg is an international researcher focusing on cost overruns in mega projects, such as the TGV and the ‘Big Dig’ in Boston. He has found a similar pattern in more than twenty countries: the costs of these projects very often turn out to be higher than was planned, on average more than 30 percent higher. In the Netherlands the HSL-South is a prime example. It has a cost overrun of 45 percent. Flyvbjerg was questioned as an expert by the temporary committee infrastructure projects (Tijdelijke Commissie Infrastructuurprojecten (2004)) which conducted research into the HSL-South and other projects.

Explanations for the systematic cost overruns, are according to Flyvbjerg ungrounded optimism among planners but also strategic motives. The lower the costs presented, the higher the chances of the project actually taking place: ‘lying pays off’. This is called ‘inverted Darwinism’ by the professor, or ‘survival of the unfittest’, because the projects that look best on paper have the largest cost overruns and demand shortfalls.

According to Flyvbjerg, one of the (partial) remedies against cost overruns is reference class forecasting. This is a method with which the costs of a project are estimated by comparing it to similar projects in the past. Flyvbjerg has applied this method to the ‘Zuiderzeelijn’ project. This resulted in a cost estimate that was 40 percent higher than previous estimates. Because of this the project is now being re-evaluated.

In the coming years Flyvbjerg, who is a part-time professor at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology, will research mega projects in the Netherlands. ‘To my surprise, there is little systematic knowledge about this subject. We do not know if the general conclusions found in other countries apply to the Netherlands. That’s a pity, because the Netherlands are especially interesting in this respect because of the high density of infrastructures.’

Flyvbjerg detects a change in attitude towards mega projects. ‘The realisation that things have to change is sinking in.’ Flyvbjerg receives full support of the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management which finances the chair. In about two to three years, he hopes to present results on Dutch mega projects.

Maarten van der Sanden | alfa
Further information:
http://www.tudelft.nl

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Uncovering decades of questionable investments
18.01.2018 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center

nachricht Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation
22.11.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>