The external costs and infrastructure costs of transport

While transport and travel are key elements of economic prosperity, they are also accompanied by substantial costs. To a large extent these are internal, borne by the parties causing them (e.g. fuel costs, purchase costs) and thus also incorporated in mobility decisions. In addition, though, transport also gives rise to external costs (including environmental costs) and infrastructure costs, and unless these are in the form of user charges they are not taken on board in the mobility decisions of private citizens and businesses.

Because these latter costs have no market price, their value must be estimated by other means. Such cost estimates are the subject of this study, which presents the external costs and infrastructure costs of transport in the Netherlands in 2010 as well as transport-related subsidies, taxes and charges in that year. The study reviews the total, average and marginal costs and revenues/subsidies for numerous modes of transport, from cycling to air travel and from road haulage to maritime shipping.

The study is an update and extension of ‘The price of a journey’, a 2004 study by CE Delft and the Free University of Amsterdam. Considerable effort has been devoted to updating the methodology used for pricing external effects, bringing this study in line with state-of-the-art European research on this topic.


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