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Estimation of Social Costs of Highways in Japan


  • Fumitoshi Mizutani

    (Graduate School of Business Administration, Kobe University)

  • Yusuke Suzuki

    (Faculty of Commerce, Kyushu Sangyo University)

  • Shuji Uranishi

    (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka City University)


This study estimates and evaluates the social costs of highways in Japan. Five kinds of social costs of vehicular transport are considered: traffic accidents, air pollution, noise, global warming, and traffic congestion. Major findings of this study are as follows. First, social costs increase at an accelerated rate as traffic volume increases. Second, the largest component of vehicular transport’s social costs on highways is traffic congestion, accounting for about 64%. The second largest component is traffic accidents, accounting for 24%. Third, among vehicle types, the social costs of buses are largest, at 105 yen per vehicle-km, about 16 times higher than the social costs of regular cars. Last, total social costs for whole highway networks are about 678,212 million yen, or about 0.13% of Japan’s GDP. Compared with highway fare revenues and the operating costs of highways, social costs equal 62.6% and 98.6%, respectively.

Suggested Citation

  • Fumitoshi Mizutani & Yusuke Suzuki & Shuji Uranishi, 2015. "Estimation of Social Costs of Highways in Japan," Discussion Papers 2015-18, Kobe University, Graduate School of Business Administration.
  • Handle: RePEc:kbb:dpaper:2015-18

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fumitoshi Mizutani & Yusuke Suzuki & Hiroki Sakai, 2011. "Estimation of Social Costs of Transport in Japan," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 48(16), pages 3537-3559, December.
    2. Shafik, Nemat, 1994. "Economic Development and Environmental Quality: An Econometric Analysis," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(0), pages 757-773, Supplemen.
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    More about this item


    Social costs; Car transportation; Highway; External costs;

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • L9 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • R4 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics

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