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Lasting Infrastructure Cost Benchmarking database

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Project Acronym
LICB activity
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Infrastructure (INF)
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Background & Policy context

The study on cost benchmarking is addressed to IMs and intends to provide all participants with the opportunity to define their own cost-position. Currently, 14 European Infrastructure Managers participate in the project and deliver information each year. CFL joined the project in 2006. Data have been collected and analysed since 1996 so that it is possible to identify trends over time.  


Since 1996, the International Union of Railways (UIC) has facilitated the Lasting Infrastructure Cost Benchmarking (LICB) of 15 Western European railways. This new project represents an important step forward in valuable UIC cost benchmarking. 


New members have joined the project, giving this survey a wider overview. Implementations of new methodology and an online collaborative tool have improved the collection, checking and data analysis on behalf of participants.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Non-profit organisation
Institution Name
UIC - Union Internationale des Chemins de fer
Type of funding


National railways in Western Europe operate and maintain over 225,000 km of track infrastructure to support ever-increasing demand for the movement of people and goods by train. Approximately 2.6 billion passenger- train-km and 580 million freight train-km were moved on these tracks in 2010, an increase of 13% since 1996. The annual cost of maintaining and renewing the existing infrastructure is around 17 billion euro, and in addition many railway infrastructure managers are investing heavily in enhancements and upgrades.

Benchmarking has proved to be a powerful tool for the rail industry; by providing quantitative performance indicators in many areas, it promotes critical questioning of current practices and supports robust target-setting and strategy development. But benchmarking does not provide immediate answers, nor does it prescribe how an organisation can change to achieve its goals or define the culture required to implement improvements.

The final report summarises the trends and developments in the last 15 years (1996 to 2010) of key figures for network characteristics and utilisation as well as for infrastructure maintenance and renewal expenditures from a European perspective.

Innovation aspects

The study aims to link asset condition, quality and reliability with lifecycle costs.

Other results

LICB outputs are also used by the participating infrastructure managers themselves to specify key indicators in performance and funding contracts with government, or to provide continuous monitoring and support for long-term renewals planning. The outputs can also provide input for other benchmarking methods such as econometric studies and can be used for in-depth root cause analysis.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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