Urban view with skyscrapers, blurred train and traffic light trails. City of London urban scene in Canary Wharf with busy road, metro train and lights of financial district on background.
Transport Economics
Volterra understands the importance of considering the ways in which transport infrastructure and land availability can impact upon where growth might occur. The company has pioneered new ways of considering the impacts of large scale transport investment on the economy.

We are experts in transport economics

Volterra understands the importance of considering the ways in which transport infrastructure and land availability can impact upon where and how much growth might occur. The company has pioneered new ways of considering the impacts of large scale transport investment on the economy.

Our work is based on a detailed understanding of appraisal guidance and transport modelling, but also a willingness to challenge the status quo and a constant search for better ways of doing things.

Responsive to New Ideas

Volterra has specific expertise in considering the benefits of transport investments where standard models do not give the full picture.  With this in mind, Volterra has frequently developed new methods of assessment and analysis which allow policymakers or investors to understand the potential impacts of investing in transport infrastructure.

International Experience

Volterra has extensive international experience, particularly in Australia, New Zealand and  Canada and across much of SE Asia. Most of that work has been on major rail links, and includes Value Capture strategies, airport access strategies, Wider Economic Benefits and socio-economic impacts.

Pioneers in Innovative Analytic Techniques

Volterra’s USP and brand identity is based around the fact that we develop innovative research techniques to resolve problems within economic appraisals.

We are capable of, and experienced in, applying the guidance, but our added value is that we have repeatedly been shown to demonstrate new ways of thinking about complex problems which ultimately result in ways to evolve appraisal guidance.

Examples include:

  • the WEBs of transport investments which we developed for Crossrail (see case studies);
  • Valuing public realm (research for Transport for London), which considered how much individuals are willing to pay to be in nicer places using stated preference research on valuing public realm.


Volterra has continued to challenge the applicability of existing guidance to the concept of high speed rail. Traditional methods typically apply well to shorter routes and journeys, where small tweaks to services can have big local effects. Volterra has been developing new approaches to understanding how larger transport investment, specifically those that link cities which are further apart than ‘commuter’ relationships, can have transformational, step change, impacts upon economic growth in cities.

Paul led the economic appraisal of the City Centre to Mangere (Airport) Light Rail (CC2MLRT). That included the traditional user benefits but added several more innovative ways to maximise value. Paul’s work has been used to update the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual to include these wider economic benefits.

Peter Clark, Lead Advisor, Light Rail, New Zealand Transport Agency

who we work with

Volterra works with a multitude of governments and public bodies around London, the country, and the world in delivering high quality transport development models and considering transport infrastructure projects.

some of our clients

case studies


New Zealand
Transport Agency

Hyperloop &
High Speed Rail

Road Pricing

Do you have a project that we can help with?

Business Case Development Manual Review


Paul Buchanan led the economic appraisal of Crossrail from 2002-2008 and during that time developed (with Bridget Rosewell and others) the approach to Wider Economic Benefits (WEBs). Paul’s involvement included demand and revenue forecasting, the overall economic appraisal, Wider Economic Benefits, impacts on land use and risk analysis.



Demand and Revenue Forecasting
Economic Appraisal
Wider Economic Benefits
Impacts on Land Use

New Zealand Transport AGENCY

Volterra led the economic case for the City Centre to Mangere Light Rail project in Auckland. The assessment considered not just the transport outcomes, but also the wider development impacts. The work quantified and valued the impact of ensuring jobs are supported in the most productive parts of the country and supporting residential development along the corridor. Volterra also supported the value capture strategy for the LRT.


New Zealand Transport Agency


Economic Case

Hyperloop & High Speed Rail

Volterra has worked on a number of Hyperloop feasibility studies in the UK, Scandinavia, Australia. Whilst there is no operating version of Hyperloop yet, the implication if it works are immense.

HSR studies include HS2, HSR in Australia, a privately funded high speed link to Heathrow and a number of other airport projects





Road pricing

Volterra has significant experience of road pricing. That includes two studies for Transport for London on the average and marginal costs of road use and a complete road pricing proposal to the Wolfson Prize (runner-up 2017). View our submission here




TFL - BCDM Review

Volterra undertook a review of the Business Case Development Manual (BCDM), TfL’s guidance document for business cases of transport schemes in London. That review identified five key areas for further development: WEBs, rail crowding, business time savings, multi criteria analysis and cycling appraisal. Volterra’s work provided background on each of these areas along with recommendations on how the guidance could be improved. They contributed to a chapter of the report addressing multi criteria analysis and how this could be incorporated into the BCDM.


Transport for London


BCDM Review