Wolfson 2017 logo Finalist

The Wolfson Economics Prize 2017 – our shortlisted entry led by Paul Buchanan

Wolfson 2017 logo FinalistAs a niche consultancy with expertise in the planning, economic and financial appraisal of public and private sector transport, the question for this years’ Wolfson Economics Prize “How can we pay for better, safer, more reliable roads in a way that is fair to road users and good for the economy and the environment?” was perfectly suited to us.

Paul Buchanan and his team are delighted to have been shortlisted with their entry “Pricing for Prosperity”, and will now continue to develop the submission with our collaborators at Jacobs, over the next two months for the final round.

Our entry sets out the challenge facing the UK: our road network is one of the most congested in the developed world and needs improvement as our population and economy grows. We argue of all the solutions – including increasing fuel duty to cut demand, rationing car use or relying on technological change such as autonomous vehicles – only a new form of charging is flexible enough to solve the problem. Our proposal is the gradual transfer to a new system which would make charges and journey times clear in advance and compensate for delays. This would be achieved through a shift from the current system of very high fixed costs for car ownership, and low marginal costs, to a new system which would rebalance the current average cost of car ownership and use, currently £4,220 a year. The costs of road congestion, road maintenance and environmental mitigation would be made clear, allowing resources to be put into solving them. This would help deal with issues such as air quality, encourage new car technology and sort out congestion and poor maintenance.

A link to our full submission can be found here

An interesting piece to camera by Paul and John Siraut of Jacobs, can be found here

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e: aobyrne@volterra.co.uk
t: +44 020 8878 6333

Alex O’Byrne, Associate at Volterra, is an experienced economic consultant specialising in economic, health and social impact, economic strategy, project appraisal and socio-economic planning matters.

Alex has led the socio-economic and health assessments of some of the most high profile developments across the UK, including Battersea Power Station, Olympia London, London Resort, MSG Sphere and Westfield. He has significant experience inputting to EIAs and s106 discussions as well as drafting economic statements, employment and skills strategies and affordable workspace strategies.

Alex is also experienced at economic appraisal for infrastructure. He was project manager of the economic appraisal for the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail in Auckland. He also led the economic and financial appraisals of the third tranche of the Transport Access Program for Transport for New South Wales, in which Alex developed and employed innovative methodological approaches to better capture benefits for individuals with reduced mobility.

He is interested in the limitations of current appraisal methodologies and ways of improving economic and health analysis to ensure it is accessible to as many people as possible. To this end, Alex recognises the importance of transparent and simple to understand analysis and ensuring all work is supported by a robust narrative.

Alex holds a BSc (Hons) in Economics from the University of Manchester and he was a member of the first cohort of the Mayor’s Infrastructure Young Professionals Panel.


Senior Partner

e: eevans@volterra.co.uk
t: +44 020 8878 6333

Ellie is a partner at Volterra, specialising in the economic impact of developments and proposals, and manages many of the company’s projects on economic impact, regeneration, transport and development.

With thirteen years experience at Volterra delivering high quality projects to clients across the public and private sector, Ellie has expertise in developing methods of estimating economic impact where complex issues exist with regards to deadweight, displacement and additionality.

Ellie has significant experience in estimating the economic impact across all types of property development including residential, leisure, office and mixed use schemes.

Project management of recent high profile schemes include the luxury hotel London Peninsula, Battersea Power Station and the Nova scheme at London Victoria. Ellie has also led studies across the country estimating the economic and regeneration impact of proposed transport investments, including studies on HS2 and Crossrail.

Ellie holds a degree in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Cambridge.