Estimation of the marginal cost for road noise and rail noise

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The purpose of this study is to estimate the marginal cost of road noise and rail noise in Sweden. We use the impact pathway approach (IPA) where traffic noise exposure implies an impact on individuals, which in turn is related to monetary valuation of these outcomes.

Our data consists of noise calculations and number of exposed individuals at different noise levels. We further use monetary valuations of noise disturbances based on property market differentials. Finally, impact functions of negative health outcomes due to noise exposure, and monetary valuations of these negative health outcomes, are used.

The empirical results show that the marginal costs of traffic noise are highly dependent on the number of exposed individuals and the vehicle type. The overall conclusion is thus that differentiation of the marginal costs is essential, as the noise exposure varies strongly with the population density, and that different vehicle types contribute very differently to the noise emissions. Furthermore, road noise marginal costs are positively influenced by the speed limit and the traffic volume. Nevertheless, the sensitivity with respect to traffic volume is not very substantial. For rail noise marginal costs, there is no effect of traffic volume on the estimated marginal cost.

In addition, the marginal costs for road noise are estimated separately for different times of the day. These results show that day times have the lowest marginal costs despite the largest traffic volume. Highest marginal costs are mostly estimated for evening but also in some calculations for night time. Sleep disturbances may not be captured in our analysis however, but a sensitivity analysis, including a separate function for sleep disturbance, shows that night time marginal costs are consistently the highest.

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