After the ribbon is cut. The ex-post evaluation of infrastructure projects (English summary)

Instead, decisions are taken based on exhaustive ex-ante evaluations, in which prior consideration is given to the various effects of the project, including, for example, how the project would impact people’s travel times. However, this concentrated attention for pre-project assessments stands in stark contrast to the evaluations conducted after a project’s completion – the so-called ex-post evaluations. In the study ‘After the ribbon is cut’, the KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis concludes that ex-post evaluations are not always, not systematically and not comprehensively conducted for all Dutch infrastructure projects.

This report is available in Dutch.

Four primary reasons are given for the lack of interest in ex-post evaluations: the political-administrative and policy context, psychological processes, organisational barriers, and methodological problems. The conclusion is that these deterrents can be overcome, and that in principle there is much to learn from ex-post evaluations. This study finds that lighter forms of ex-post evaluations are more beneficial and achievable. The study concludes with the recommendation to conduct a comprehensive ex-post evaluation of a completed infrastructure project, in order to gain insights into what exactly can be learned from ex-post evaluations and to determine exactly which (research) efforts are involved.