Transport and Ethics

Transport and Ethics

Ethics and the Evaluation of Transport Policies and Projects

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Bert van Wee

This insightful book discusses the use of Cost–Benefit Analysis (CBA) for transport policy options from an ethical perspective. Each detailed chapter deals with issues such as: the use and ethical aspects of CBA in transport, social exclusion, the environment and long term sustainability, safety, ethics of research and modelling transport. It summarizes ethics-based critics on CBA and discusses their relevance for accessibility, the environment and safety. In addition it explores ethical dilemmas of doing CBAs and CBA related research. The book concludes with possible avenues for further exploring the links between transport and ethics.

Chapter 7: The Ethics of Doing Transport Research

Bert van Wee

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


7.1 INTRODUCTION Questions related to the ethics of doing research include: ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● What do codes of conduct tell us about the ethics of doing research? How independent should a researcher be? How impartial should a researcher be? What to do if the client’s interest strongly conflicts with those of the wider society? To what extent should research be verifiable? Where does political responsibility end, and lying or manipulation start? Should a researcher disseminate non-confidential research if the findings are relevant for society, but the client does not appreciate this? Should ethical standards for universities differ from those for consultancies? What is the quality of cost estimates and demand forecasts for large infrastructure projects? Which options are available to reduce the immoral behaviour, that results in poor quality cost estimates and demand forecasts? Doing research in general can easily result in ethical dilemmas. What to do with the client’s wishes if accepting them would result in less objective research? How ‘good’ should research be, to be able to draw conclusions? How to trade-off clear communication of findings and scientific nuances? Transport research is no exception to this rule. This chapter discusses the ethical aspects of doing research in transport. The ambition is to make transport researchers, especially those doing research in the area of ex ante evaluations of transport projects and policies, aware of the ethical dimensions of their research. Although researchers in other areas can also benefit from this chapter, the ambition is not to cover all areas of research. Because...

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