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Costs and benefits of transport
Transport and mobility give rise to various costs and benefits. A number of these are noticed directly by transport users: the cost of petrol or of a train ticket, or the ability to travel in comfort to their place of work by car or train. By paying for their petrol or train ticket, they assume a portion of the costs they are generating. These directly assumed costs are referred to as internal or private costs.
In addition, however, mobility gives rise to a number of costs that are not reflected in the aforementioned costs. Traffic noise, for example, impairs the quality of life and health of people living near railways, roads or airports. This may cause the people affected to incur treatment or hospitalisation costs. Such costs are not reflected in the price of mobility, however, and are thus referred to as external costs.
External benefits are the counterpart to these external costs: Specific travel habits result in benefits that go beyond those enjoyed by the particular person travelling. In the case of pedestrians and cyclists, physical exercise generates health benefits that have positive effects on society as a whole: less illness means more productive employees and hence lower healthcare and social insurance costs.
To ensure that resources in an economy are properly deployed, the external costs or benefits should be internalised. In other words, they should be debited or credited to the people that generate them. Switzerland's heavy goods vehicle charge (LSVA) is a shining example. Since it was introduced, heavy goods vehicles have been helping significantly to internalise their external costs.
Road, rail, air and waterborne transport 2010, and trends since 2005
Valid from 30.06.2014 | Size: 1120 kb | Type: PDF
Monetising Environmental, Accident and Health-Related Effects (english abstract and summarised version).
Valid from 18.06.2014 | Size: 6939 kb | Type: PDF
Monetising Environmental, Accident and Health-Related Effects
Valid from 18.06.2014 | Size: 344 kb | Type: PDF
The Transport Account issued by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) provides an overview of total road- and rail-related costs and earnings. The Transport Account is designed to complement and provide a synthesis of the existing sub-accounts for infrastructure and running costs (Road and Rail Accounts) and the estimates of external transport costs.
Benefits of transport
The transport system also generates widespread benefits, which include its contributions to added value and economic growth, and its role as an "employer". A joint study by the Federal Office for Spatial Development (ARE) and the Federal Roads Office (ASTRA) has analysed the various manifestations of road- and rail-related benefits and given some structure to the debate about the varied understanding of transport benefits.
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Contact: Christina Hürzeler
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