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.

English, French

Towards a Framework for Identifying and Measuring the Benefits of Accessibility

This paper (i) explains the motivation for articulating the benefits of accessibility; (ii) provides a narrative basis for articulating how accessibility affects economic and social life; and (iii) moves a framework for quantifying the benefits of accessibility.

In examining laws, regulations and judicial proceedings in different nations, the paper finds that most view cost as a limiting factor on what public and private entities can be compelled to provide in relation to the accessibility of transportation, the build environment, employment, and services. This is so even in the context of constitutionally and legislatively enshrined human rights. This paper also finds that cost-benefit balancing is emerging as a necessary part of the accessibility governance framework. When addressing the specific application of accessibility rights, governments, regulatory bodies ad courts around the world deal comprehensively with costs but fail to value important categories of benefit, such as the reduction of stigmatic harms, “option” benefits and “existence” value, and capability value. The paper describes progress towards a comprehensive narrative and analytical framework for describing and measuring such benefits.


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