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The latest winters have caused problems for freight transport in Sweden. The subsequent discussion is about how well the freight transport is captured in the socioeconomic calculations, i.e. within cost-benefit analysis (CBA) of infrastructure investment and maintenance. Voices have been raised that there are major flaws. Such errors would mean that important freight-related investments are undervalued in the calculations. This study set out to provide an overview of how well the benefits and costs related to the transport of goods are reflected in the economic calculations. Sweden has a long tradition and a well-developed methodology to use CBAs in government infrastructure planning. Swedish infrastructure is primarily state funded, which means that the link between buyers and sellers is not direct. It is up to politicians to assess the demand for and potential benefits of transport. CBA is a tool to quantify the benefits to society of an infrastructure investment and compare it to the cost. If the benefits outweigh costs, it is justified to build/improve. The unit values for travel time savings and improved reliability used in the calculations are set by ASEK, an independent working group. The underlying transport forecasts and causes of effects are the responsibility of the Swedish Transport Administration. One big benefit post in these calculations is time savings, i.e. that people and goods will arrive faster than before thanks to a new/improved road or railway. To estimate these values, appraisal studies focus on how people value that they arrive earlier or companies that their goods arrive earlier. Basically, answering the question how much money you are willing to pay to reduce transport time by e.g. an hour? It is reasonable to believe that willingness to pay differs between different persons and companies. The discussions after the problematic winters have been about how companies value reliability of the infrastructure and if these values are incorporated in the CBAs. The concept of reliability is to avoid delays and cancellations, i.e. to be able to trust that transports go according to plan.

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7
Dec

Shipping and the environment – research meets reality

Centre for Transport Studies (CTS) in co-operation with Ports of Stockholm invite you to the seminar Shipping and the environment – research meets reality.

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