The Cost Escalation of Rail Projects: Using Previous Experience to Re-Evaluate the CalSpeed Estimates

Dan Leavitt, Sean Ennis, Pat McGovern

Research output: Working paper

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The purpose of this paper is to test rigorously and critically the cost estimate methodology presented in that previous working paper. This has been accomplished primarily by focusing on the issue of cost escalation of rail projects, with reference to both U.S. and foreign experience. By examining the cost escalation of previous rail projects and reviewing the arguments of researchers who have asserted that cost estimates of rail projects have been routinely underestimated, we have concluded that the problem of high overruns is mainly confined to cost estimates done in the conceptual stages of the projects. Design estimates are most likely to escalate when engineers lack experience with the specific type of project or technology.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBerkeley, CA
PublisherUniversity of California Transportation Center
Number of pages105
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 1993


  • Cost escalation
  • Rail projects

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