Table of Contents

A Handbook of Transport Economics

A Handbook of Transport Economics

Elgar original reference

Edited by André de Palma, Robin Lindsey, Emile Quinet and Roger Vickerman

Bringing together insights and perspectives from close to 70 of the world’s leading experts in the field, this timely Handbook provides an up-to-date guide to the most recent and state-of-the-art advances in transport economics. The comprehensive coverage includes topics such as the relationship between transport and the spatial economy, recent advances in travel demand analysis, the external costs of transport, investment appraisal, pricing, equity issues, competition and regulation, the role of public–private partnerships and the development of policy in local bus services, rail, air and maritime transport.

Chapter 15: External Costs of Transport in the United States

Mark Delucchi and Don McCubbin

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, urban and regional studies, transport


Mark Delucchi and Don McCubbin INTRODUCTION In this chapter we report estimates of the external costs of transport in the United States.1 Generally, we cover road, rail, air and water transport; passenger transport and freight transport; and congestion, accident, air pollution, climate change, noise, water pollution and energy-security costs. However, we were not able to find estimates for all cost categories; in particular, there are fewer estimates for freight transport than for passenger transport, fewer estimates for water transport than for other modes, and fewer estimates of water pollution costs than of other costs. Table 15.1 summarizes the quality of estimates in each category. In our review, negative externalities are the unaccounted for or unpriced costs of an action. This means that they are the result of individual decisions or actions, such as whether to drive or take a train, or freight something by ship or plane, and are related to the explicit prices and unaccounted-for costs of those choices. Estimates of the external costs of transport may be used for several purposes: as a guide to more economically efficient pricing (given that the optimal price is equal to the private market price plus the estimated marginal external costs); as a guide to allocating research and development funds to mitigate the largest external costs; as part of a costbenefit analysis of optimal investment in transportation modes and infrastructure; and as part of historical or comparative analyses. As indicated in Table 15.1, the available estimates do not fully characterize all costs...

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