The predicaments of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Transport Infrastructure: An examination of policy stagnation and progress

Koorosh Gharehbaghi, Amin Hosseinian Far, Per Hilletofth

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for transport infrastructure, should take into account geological constraints, legislative regulations, public policy, and other strategic considerations. These strategic considerations and constraints that are often seen as the most challenging issues facing transportation planners are critically reviewed. Subsequently, the evolving environmental impacts of civil transport infrastructure projects are measured.

Design/methodology/approach – Using a mixed-method approach, this study examines the EIA and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) dimensions of transportation infrastructure.

Findings – Through the development of the EIA and EIS policy framework for transport infrastructure, this paper found that to better enhance the EIA and to effectively calculate various indicator variables, a hybrid approach to the method, known as input-output analysis, needs to be adopted. Knowing that a feasible cost breakdown is usually available within projects, it can be concluded that it is plausible to add an I-O model into an existing environmental impact statement to obtain results not only for onsite effects but also for off-site effects. Moreover, some of the benefits of implementing a hybrid input-output analysis can (1) significantly improve the completeness of any conventional EIS for a range of quantifiable indicators, (2) improve the ability to rank alternative options, and (3) provide a valuable overview of indirect impacts to be used for streamlining the EIA audit. For these reasons, input-output techniques could be incorporated as optional elements into the EIA standards.

Practical implications - With input from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and national input-output tables of the industry sector, this research was able to determine that indirect effects within transport projects are not being considered for what they are worth. This enables to answer key questions dealing with the effects of EIAs on the transportation sector. This in turn can assist with planning through the commissioning of such projects.

Originality/value - The I-O model introduced in this paper will ultimately lead to better incorporation of various environmental elements. The findings of the paper can thus assist transportation planners in better aligning environmental impacts with EIA. This in turn can result in improvements in the completeness of any conventional EIS, enhance the ability to rank alternative options and provide a valuable overview of indirect impacts to be used for streamlining the EIA audit.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransforming Government: People, Process and Policy
Early online date14 Sep 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Policy framework
  • Environmental impact assessment
  • Civil infrastructure project
  • Environmental impact statement

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