Follow-up and social impact assessment (SIA) in urban transport-infrastructure projects: insights from the parramatta rail link

Lara K. Mottee, Richard Howitt*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    7 Citations (Scopus)
    257 Downloads (Pure)


    In assessing the social impacts of major urban transport-infrastructure projects Impact Assessment (IA) practitioners determine and facilitate the equitable distribution of project benefits and costs. They do this in a context of governmental policy objectives and stakeholder interests. Public investment in transport projects shapes contemporary planning of urban Australian cities, addressing common challenges of rapid and sprawling population growth. Politically-driven urgency' in delivering new infrastructure, raises questions about long-term strategic benefit and delivery of the positive social and environmental outcomes that often frame their announcement.Follow-up to assess outcomes against policy objectives and stakeholder interests, however, is rare and tools to facilitate genuine public accountability through project phases are lacking. This paper discusses the need for better management and follow-up of social impacts from urban transport-infrastructure projects. Drawing insights from a review of the (partial) delivery of the former NSW Government's Parramatta Rail Link project, it evaluates social impact management strategies applied against the achievement of social and transport policy objectives. Lessons introduced highlight the constraints and limitations on good practice IA and Social Impact Assessment, the importance of early practitioner and community involvement and that political decision-making for urban transport-infrastructure has the greater influence on delivering social outcomes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)46-56
    Number of pages11
    JournalAustralian planner
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


    • Urban & transport planning & governance
    • social impact assessment
    • EIA follow-up
    • parramatta rail link
    • epping to chatswood rail link

    Cite this