The impact of travel costs and economic growth on cost-benefit analysis rankings

Peter Almström
Svante Berglund
Daniel Jonsson

The use of Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) as a tool for selecting transport investments is often questioned. It is not unusual that politicians or others in the public debate argue that the outcome of a CBA completely rely on assumptions concerning a particular input factor, such as valuation of CO2 emissions or future fuel price. This paper explores whether the relative ranking of CBA outcomes are robust with respect to some key inputs in transport demand analysis driving cost, public transport fare and economic growth. We study six different infrastructure objects (three road and three rail objects) and four alternative assumptions on input factors compared to a reference scenario.

The findings suggest that single input factors in a CBA, individually have a small impact on the ranking of the studied investments. In our model calculations we observe no change in rank between a road and a rail object.

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