Environmental effects of transport projects have a weak position in Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA) which might be rooted in the valuation approach adopted in the dominant style of CBA. This conventional valuation approach has been criticized for not valuing positive and negative impacts of transport projects in relation to each other and for not valuing such impacts in a public context, but in the context of private decisions. These critiques might be circumvented through valuing transport projects in a social choice context in which overall burdens and benefits of proposed transport projects are considered together in a public context. We investigate the extent to which a social choice valuation approach produces different outcomes than a conventional valuation approach. We conducted four social choice valuation experiments in which respondents were asked to choose between alternatives for a new road, trading off travel time and three environmental impacts (noise, recreation and biodiversity). Our findings suggest that, under social choice valuation, individuals assign substantially more value to environmental impacts than travel time as compared to conventional valuation studies. Moreover, in a social choice setting, respondents assigned monetary values to impacts that are not (or only qualitatively) considered in conventional CBAs of transport projects.
Mouter, N., Cabral, M. O., Dekker, T., & van Cranenburgh, S. (2019). The value of travel time, noise pollution, recreation and biodiversity: A social choice valuation perspective. Research in Transportation Economics (in press)