Because they're worth it : research on the influence of scenario components on benefits of infrastructure investments

Hoen, M.J.J. 't (2012) Because they're worth it : research on the influence of scenario components on benefits of infrastructure investments.

Abstract:Investments in the road network are costly and provide benefits on a long term. Projects should be planned far ahead because construction takes a lot of time. Additionally the future is uncertain. Policymakers therefore have to deal with uncertainty when making decisions and planning investments. The scenarios in the report Prosperity and Environment give a range of national demographic and economic developments. This research provides more insight into the influence of specific scenario components on the travel time benefits1 of investments. For this analysis the scenarios Regional Communities (RC, low) and Global Economy (GE high) are used as a starting point, and then the effect of specific scenario components is tested. The input for the scenarios differs greatly. Besides population growth and household size especially household incomes and freight kilometers show a large bandwidth between the scenarios. The oil price is assumed to be equal. The amount of vehicle-kilometers in 2030 is approximately 25% higher in GE. The travel time loss is almost 2.5 times higher than in RC and the number of congestion-hours is more than 3 times as high. The sensitivity of the output to input variables differs per indicator. The number of tours and traveled distance are especially sensitive to population, size of the household and car ownership. Time loss and congestion-hours are also highly dependent on the participation level (which determines the labour force) and also to household income and freight traffic. For this study, an investment package was designed for the main road network of 20 billion between 2020-2030. The travel time benefits are in the high scenario up to 3 times as high as in the low scenario. They are especially sensitive to the number of inhabitants and to the relative car ownership per household. Using the sensitivities and differences in the input, the difference in benefits between GE and RC can be explained. Population, household size, income and freight are the main explanatory components for the difference. The conclusion is that the travel time loss and, partly because of that, the travel time benefits of road investments are very sensitive to the scenario that is used. The analysis provides insight into the contribution of scenario components to this large difference. And also which components of the scenarios are most decisive for the profitability of infrastructure investments. The large differences in outcome shows that the use of different scenarios in cost-benefit studies is important and especially population, household size, income levels and freight traffic deserve attention in the preparation of new scenarios.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Planbureau voor de leefomgeving
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:56 civil engineering
Programme:Civil Engineering and Management MSc (60026)
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