International Handbook on Mega-Projects
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International Handbook on Mega-Projects

Edited by Hugo Priemus and Bert van Wee

This comprehensive and accessible Handbook presents state-of-the-art research on the decision-making processes in the deliverance of mega-projects – large infrastructure projects for the transportation of people and/or goods.
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Chapter 12: CBA: ex ante evaluation of mega-projects

Bert van Wee and Piet Rietveld


Transport is crucial for society: societies cannot function without transporting people and goods. It enables us to participate in many activities at different locations, such as living, working, education, shopping and visiting relatives and friends. In addition, it allows us to transport goods, from the locations of mining of raw materials, via several production stages, culminating in the shops where people buy products, or even up to the final locations of use, such as houses or offices. On the other hand, transport carries costs, in terms of money, time, effort and the negative impacts on society. In most western countries people spend 10–15 per cent of their income on transport (Schafer and Victor, 1997). On average, and at the aggregate level (e.g., all persons in one country), people travel between60 and 75 minutes per person per day, in almost all countries worldwide(Szalai, 1972; Zahavi, 1979; Mokhtarian and Chen, 2004). In addition to time and costs, it takes effort to travel. Driving a car, especially over along distance, demands energy from the drivers, and changing trains, or from a bus to a train, is itself a negative experience for most people, not to mention the time it takes (Wardman, 2001). Cycling takes energy, and the cyclist can get wet, while driving a car over a longer period is tiring for many people.

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