Transport Infrastructure and Economic Performance

Course overview

The politics of devolved decision-making to cities has put the spotlight on how transport affects economic performance.  Transport schemes are now judged and prioritised on their expected economic outcomes.  Like it or not Gross Value Added and jobs are now part of the lexicon in transport planning, but:

  • Have we got the right tools to be making decisions based on GVA and jobs? 
  • Are these tools being applied correctly? 
  • What is a reasonable level of economic impact?  And;
  • Underlying all that, why and how do we expect transport to affect the economy? 

Judging from the many claims and counter-claims of ‘expected’ economic impact in the media, it may seem like the economic performance of transport has been reduced to rhetoric. 

The primary aim of this course is therefore to give transport professionals the knowledge to see through the rhetoric and understand the fundamentals regarding the role that transport can play in shaping the economy and how those impacts can be brought into appraisal. After attending this course transport professionals will:

  • have a solid grasp of how, when, why and to what extent transport infrastructure affects businesses and the economy,
  • understand how to incorporate economic impacts into a transport cost benefit analysis.

The course benefits from the considerable expertise of research-active staff and draws upon ITS’ experience of advising the Department for Transport (DfT) and other prominent organisations. It is a collaboration between the University of Leeds and Peak Economics. For further information about the course content or its relevance to your work please contact the course leader – James Laird, tel: +44 (0) 7766 600989, email:

Designed for people in the industry, these short courses will develop up-to-date skills and knowledge for all transport professionals. Courses are taught by active research staff and teachers, with external experts contributing, and are normally held at the Institute for Transport Studies. Alternate arrangements can be made to bring a course closer to you.  All courses can be tailor-made to your company’s particular needs. Please get in touch to discuss bespoke course options.

Course structure

The course is aimed at the practitioner and includes worked examples.  This subject matter is an emerging area of knowledge and no textbook exists on the subject.  The course materials have been drawn together through the research and expertise of ITS staff.  This course is unique to the UK and in the UK.

The course contains material on three themes.  The first theme is concerned with how transport affects businesses, and transport’s place in regional growth theories.  This includes the size and nature of the impacts that transport infrastructure has on the economy.  The second theme gives an introduction to regional economy modelling methods including reduced form models and input-output models. It touches on land use transport interaction models and computable general equilibrium.  The third theme brings together the two earlier parts and examines how economy impacts can be incorporated into appraisal both within either a cost benefit analysis paradigm or in a GVA prioritisation approach. 

Who should attend?

The course is suitable for transport professionals already working in the field of economy impacts of transport.  It is also suitable for those who intend to become involved in this field with an understanding of economics.  Delegates should have an understanding of transport cost benefit analysis, or should attend the Transport Investment Appraisal short course before attending this short course.

Fee information

£875 (including VAT*) with a £100 discount if booked alongside the Transport Investment Appraisal short course.

*VAT is charged at 0% on educational courses provided by the University of Leeds. 

Venue details

This course will be held in person at the Institute for Transport Studies in Leeds, with the option to join online. Delegates could also mix and match: for example attending the first day in person and the second day virtually. The course programme has been adjusted so that those attending online get given extra time at the beginning of the day (to sort out technical issues) and the end of the day to ensure that workshop materials are completed/understood.

Please be aware that social aspects of the course, including the course meal and breaktime conversations will be in person, though an open microphone will be left on in the lecture room for online delegates to participate should they wish in any informal conversations. Please indicate when booking which option you prefer.