Environmental concern and the choice of transport infrastructure projects in Sweden

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One of the goals of transport policy in Sweden is to minimize the impact from transport on the environment. Using a database consisting of over 800 rail, road and maritime transport infrastructure projects, we estimate whether environmental factors, such as negative environmental effects arising from the project (noise and barrier effects), or emissions of five pollutants (NOx, VOC, CO2, SO2 and PM) affect the choice of which projects will be built. For a broader model including all three transport modes, we find that projects that cause negative environmental effects in fact have a greater probability of being included in the National or a Regional Transport Infrastructure Plan for 2010-2021. For a narrower model including only road investments, we find that if we include a measure for the Net Benefit/Investment Cost Ratio (NBIR), only the negative environmental effects matter and raise the probability of a project being included in a Plan. Excluding the NBIR measure reveals that what matters are the CO emissions and traffic safety measures. Thus, an increase in the emissions of CO lowers the project's probability of being included in a Plan, and traffic safety benefits increase the probability.

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