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The Felbertauern landslide of 2013: impact on transport networks, effects on regional economy and policy decisions


  • Clemens Pfurtscheller

    () (Regional Firebrigade Association of Vorarlberg, Natural hazards prevention and disaster management)

  • Elisabetta Genovese

    () (IRCrES-CNR, Italy)


The Felbertauern landslide of May 2013 caused the total destruction of approximately 100 meters of road including an avalanche gallery, generating traffic disruption and several direct and indirect impacts on the regional economy. The Felbertauern Road, an important traffic artery for the whole NUTS-3 region East-Tyrol (Austria), was totally blocked for several weeks. Shortly after the event, regional decision makers sought to estimate the regional-economic impacts of the road blockage, in order to determine whether reopening the road or building an alternative route would be more economically feasible. This economic analysis was carried out using scattered information two weeks after the incident. The analysis is based on a three-month interruption scenario, though the road blockage was finally two months. Due to the fact that, shortly after the event, no up-to-date data on regional-economics at helpful scales was available, we calculated impacts on tourism by analysing overnight stays, additional transportation costs and time losses for the local companies. Using these numbers, a cost-benefit-analysis was then carried out for a projected bypass, a mid-term 1.5 kilometre long route as an alternative to the destroyed road. Finally, the impacts on the local companies were severe, due to additional transportation costs of approx. € 760,000 to 1.4 million. The impacts on regional tourism were calculated at € 7.7 to 8.6 million. This study demonstrates the strong impact of traffic disruption on a regional economy and describes the importance of cost-benefit analysis for policy making in order to get rapid decisions and to prevent large economic losses.

Suggested Citation

  • Clemens Pfurtscheller & Elisabetta Genovese, 2018. "The Felbertauern landslide of 2013: impact on transport networks, effects on regional economy and policy decisions," SEEDS Working Papers 0218, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Feb 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:srt:wpaper:0218

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