Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics
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Handbook of Environmental and Resource Economics

Edited by Jeroen C.J.M. van den Bergh

This major reference book comprises specially commissioned surveys in environmental and resource economics written by an international team of experts. Authoritative yet accessible, each entry provides a state-of-the-art summary of key areas that will be invaluable to researchers, practitioners and advanced students.
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Chapter 40: Transport and the environment

K.J. Button and P. Rietveld


Kenneth J Button and Piet Rietveld 1. Environmental impacts of transport Modern transport poses particular problems for the environment (Banister and Button, 1993; Button, 1993). It is a significant generator of many atmospheric pollutants, a serious contributor to noise nuisance, its infrastructure can be visually dominant and there are major safety considerations. The environmental intrusions extend through local effects, inflicted on those living and working adjacent to transport infrastructure, to transboundary effects, such as transport’s contribution to gas emissions contributing to acid rain, on through to global effects including the emission of greenhouse gases (Hughes, 1990). While there is some dispute about the exactitude of the valuation methods used, it is generally agreed that these transport-induced environmental intrusions impose considerable economic costs on society. Table 40.1 provides estimates of these for the main industrial countries expressed in terms of their importance as a percentage of GDP. In contrast to many other sectors, motorized transport is particularly intrusive because the demands for its services are often such that people want transport services to be delivered physically close to human habitation and economic activities. This means it is difficult to isolate people from the local environmental problems of transport such as visual intrusion, and noise and air pollution from fuel additives such as benzene and lead. The very mobility of transport poses further problems for initiating remedial actions. Different modes of transport affect the environment in different ways. Generally, the main problems of maritime transport centre around the potential spillage from ships...

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