What is the cost of building a subway?
This decade, New York has opened two subway extensions at costs of around $1.3 billion and $1.6 billion per kilometer. During the same period, a number of cities around the world have built subways for less than $100 million per kilometer. Is New York typical, or is it a big outlier? And what can be done to build more affordable infrastructure in the city?
This talk will present a database of urban rail lines and their costs in more than 40 countries. New York is by far the most expensive to build in globally, and other English-speaking cities are, by rest-of-world standards, quite expensive too; the global median is roughly $220 million per kilometer. With enough quantitative information, it is possible to draw preliminary conclusions about the nature of the problem of high construction costs. While the data is suggestive, it is not yet comprehensive, and further research is required to figure out how to fix the problem.
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