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The Social Cost of Automobility, Cycling and Walking in the European Union

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  • Gössling, Stefan
  • Choi, Andy
  • Dekker, Kaely
  • Metzler, Daniel

Abstract

Cost-benefit-analyses (CBA) are widely used to assess transport projects. Comparing various CBA frameworks, this paper concludes that the range of parameters considered in EU transport CBA is limited. A comprehensive list of criteria is presented, and unit costs identified. These are used to calculate the external and private cost of automobility, cycling and walking in the European Union. Results suggest that each kilometer driven by car incurs an external cost of €0.11, while cycling and walking represent benefits of €0.18 and €0.37 per kilometer. Extrapolated to the total number of passenger kilometers driven, cycled or walked in the European Union, the cost of automobility is about €500 billion per year. Due to positive health effects, cycling is an external benefit worth €24 billion per year and walking €66 billion per year. CBA frameworks in the EU should be widened to better include the full range of externalities, and, where feasible, be used comparatively to better understand the consequences of different transport investment decisions.

Suggested Citation

  • Gössling, Stefan & Choi, Andy & Dekker, Kaely & Metzler, Daniel, 2019. "The Social Cost of Automobility, Cycling and Walking in the European Union," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 158(C), pages 65-74.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:158:y:2019:i:c:p:65-74
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.12.016
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    Cited by:

    1. Sakari Höysniemi & Arto O. Salonen, 2019. "Towards Carbon-Neutral Mobility in Finland: Mobility and Life Satisfaction in Day-to-Day Life," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(19), pages 1-21, September.
    2. Hynes, Stephen & Burger, Ryan & Tudella, João & Norton, Daniel & Chen, Wenting, 2022. "Estimating the costs and benefits of protecting a coastal amenity from climate change-related hazards: Nature based solutions via oyster reef restoration versus grey infrastructure," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 194(C).
    3. Mário Meireles & Paulo J. G. Ribeiro, 2020. "Digital Platform/Mobile App to Boost Cycling for the Promotion of Sustainable Mobility in Mid-Sized Starter Cycling Cities," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(5), pages 1-27, March.
    4. Lisa Kraus & Heike Proff, 2021. "Sustainable Urban Transportation Criteria and Measurement—A Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(13), pages 1-21, June.
    5. Stefan Gössling & Andreas Humpe & Todd Litman & Daniel Metzler, 2019. "Effects of Perceived Traffic Risks, Noise, and Exhaust Smells on Bicyclist Behaviour: An Economic Evaluation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(2), pages 1-15, January.
    6. Mouter, Niek & Koster, Paul & Dekker, Thijs, 2021. "Contrasting the recommendations of participatory value evaluation and cost-benefit analysis in the context of urban mobility investments," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 144(C), pages 54-73.
    7. Dėdelė, Audrius & Miškinytė, Auksė & Andrušaitytė, Sandra & Nemaniūtė-Gužienė, Jolanta, 2020. "Dependence between travel distance, individual socioeconomic and health-related characteristics, and the choice of the travel mode: a cross-sectional study for Kaunas, Lithuania," Journal of Transport Geography, Elsevier, vol. 86(C).
    8. Dugan, Anna & Mayer, Jakob & Thaller, Annina & Bachner, Gabriel & Steininger, Karl W., 2022. "Developing policy packages for low-carbon passenger transport: A mixed methods analysis of trade-offs and synergies," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 193(C).
    9. Michael Hardinghaus & Panagiotis Papantoniou, 2020. "Evaluating Cyclists’ Route Preferences with Respect to Infrastructure," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 12(8), pages 1-18, April.

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