WIT Press

Infrastructure And Ecology: ‘limited’ Costs May Hide Substantial Impacts


Free (open access)





Page Range

17 - 26




538 kb

Paper DOI



WIT Press


E. J. Bos & J. M. Vleugel


In response to a growing demand for transport and changes in the way people use space, the nature of road infrastructure networks change: (small) roads are frequently transformed into highways. Before such expansions are realized, in many cases a legal obligation exists to carry out a cost-benefit analysis (CBA) in order to assess whether the expansion scheme creates a net social benefit for society. A CBA deals with the effects on the surrounding ecosystem, the environment and human living. This paper focuses on the valuation of the biotic, a-biotic and socio-economic damage, thereby contributing to the methodology of CBA as a tool to evaluate infrastructural plans integrally. Keywords: infrastructure, ecological effects, environmental effects, economic valuation and CBA. 1 Introduction Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) has become an important tool to support policy making on public investments in infrastructure. Here we will focus on assessing the external effects of infrastructure in economic terms. More specifically, we will value the ecological and environmental effects of transforming an existing motorway into a highway. The set-up of the paper is as follows. Section 2 starts with an introduction into CBA. Section 3 continues with an assessment of the ecological, environmental and socio-economic impacts of the highway plan, followed by the economic valuation of these impacts. Then an alternative plan to reroute the highway will be discussed briefly. Section 4 follows with an evaluation of the previous analysis. In section 5 the main conclusions and recommendations can be found.


infrastructure, ecological effects, environmental effects, economic valuation and CBA