For example, while London’s £15 billion Crossrail project - a new high frequency, high capacity railway for London and the South East - will significantly improve the city’s transport links, the size, timetable and complexity of the project necessitated government involvement.
That being said, the private sector does play a role in brownfield UK transportation with most airports and ports, initially developed using public sector funds, being now privately owned and operated.
On the railways, trains are owned and operated by the private sector, even if the tracks on which they run are government-owned. The Shaw Report, commissioned by the Government, is currently exploring options surrounding the funding and development of the railways in the UK.
And in continental Europe, many roads are developed and owned by private companies.
Access to funding
"There are two principal ways that government transport projects can access private sector funding," says Roseman.
"The Government can build an asset, sell it to the private sector and reinvest the money in other greenfield transport or other government initiatives."
"Alternatively, the Government can coordinate with the private sector from the beginning to structure a transaction that works for all parties, through a public private partnership."
The public private partnership model
In the UK, public private partnerships are the preferred model for private sector engagement.
While such partnerships are often associated with social infrastructure such as schools, hospitals and prisons, a number of roads have been built on this basis. In addition, the Thames Tideway Tunnel project - a large sewer which is being built in central London - is another good example of the public and private sectors working together to achieve broader infrastructure delivery objectives.
In such cases, the Government typically provides a guaranteed revenue stream or guarantee which makes the risk of large, complex construction projects then viable for private sector operators.
Collaboration for the future
To ensure sustained growth and connectivity, there will always be a clear need to expand existing transportation infrastructure. Where cities fail to deliver infrastructure on or ahead of population growth they will fall behind other global peers.
Given the size and scale of most construction projects, government involvement is a prerequisite, at least in the initial stages.
However, there is a genuine role for private sector operators in the delivery of well planned and structured projects.