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International Transport Forum Discussion Papers

ITF Discussion Papers make economic research, commissioned or carried out in-house at the International Transport Forum, available to researchers and practitioners. They describe preliminary results or research in progress by the author(s) and are published to stimulate discussion on a broad range of issues on which the ITF works.

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The Economics of Enhancing Accessibility

Estimating the Benefits and Costs of Participation

Inclusiveness affects the underlying thinking and consequential analysis of accessibility issues in transport. If the fundamental premise is that all people are equal and should be viewed as stakeholders in matters of public policy then it not only reflects international treaties, such as the Rights of the Child and the Rights of Persons with Disability, it encapsulates these and others in a broader perspective of equality. To claim that inclusiveness in transport policy is a paradigm shift may be an over statement, however, what seems self-evident in our discussion is not reflected in best practice at this time. It is important that some measure of the particular beneficiaries of investment in barrier-free transport is defined.

We propose that the use of observable mobility aids, by persons making all manner of trips as pedestrians and public transport users, can be incorporated into cost-benefit appraisal and to inform broader transport planning. The proportion of people using a mobility aid in catchment populations can be estimated so that gaps can be defined between current and desired levels of demonstrated inclusion in transport and especially accessible infrastructure. This indicator is readily operational to estimate benefits and comparative costs of trips not made. These methods ought to be refined to objectively assess accessibility in parallel with other objectives for transport.

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