Abstract: One of the major unresolved research issues in transport is the question as to whether transport infrastructure investment promotes economic growth at the regional and local levels. The concern is not with the transport benefits, principally measured as travel-time savings, but whether there are additional development benefits from these investments. If they do exist, can they be measured? In this paper, we have developed a new approach based on defining the set of necessary conditions for economic development to take place – in addition to the economic conditions, there are the investment conditions and the political and institutional conditions. It is argued that it is only when all three sets of necessary conditions are operating at the same time will measurable and additional economic development benefits be found. A conceptual approach will be presented to encompass these conditions. The paper will also address some of the key questions that have haunted researchers over the last twenty years on this subject area. These fairly detailed findings on the relationship between transport investment and economic development are followed by a series of more generic conclusions relating to other key concerns of analysis. Included here will be a discussion of the dimensions of analysis, a new proposal for project appraisal, decoupling transport from economic growth complexity and causality, accessibility and proximity, and the role of policy design.
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