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Title: Improving decision-making for major urban rail projects
Author: Allport, Roger J.
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2008
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This research concerns the management of dynamic complexity for a particularly demanding form of megaproject - 'metros' that are defined as urban rail systems that carry a mass ridership rapidly. Increasingly large cities that are not poor turn to metros as the centre-piece of their sustainable development policy. Metros are important because of this and because of their opportunity cost. It is evidently necessary that these decisions are soundly based. The author, having spent his career working in this sector became convinced that there was both a major problem - of a lack of success in developing metro projects. The research purpose was to identify what could be done to improve things - not theoretically but practically. The research was based upon a comprehensive review of existing knowledge about decision-making, major project development and experiences of project success, together with nine in-depth case studies of neWlyopen metros in Asia and the UK. Interviews with key stakeholders and accessed documentation established what had happened, why and with what consequences for whom. The research revealed degrees of success - almost complete in two cases, and a better delivery record than previously known, albeit with caveats; but a common failure to deliver the operational benefits used to justify their costs. An understanding was developed that appeared to explain how projects happened, and issues were identified at the heart of the subject. These concerned sponsor characteristics and strategies, central government's role in creating an enabling environment, how strategic misrepresentation could be reduced and optimism bias countered, a potential role for the private sector, and changes in the management of metro projects, and in particular planning. Practical approaches were developed and a change agenda formulated that could improve success. This agenda appears to provide a resource for effecting improvements that is richer and more comprehensive than previous approaches.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available