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Valuation of Traffic-Related Health Costs in Different German and British Cities


Research objectives and content

Concern over the negative environmental effects of road transport has mounted in the recent years, with the effects of air pollution on public health causing particular concern. Levels of air pollution in cities are regularly exceeding EC and WHO guidelines. Road vehicles are certainly one of the major contributors to air pollution in German and British cities. Criteria pollutants such as NO[x] PM10 Ozone, are the subject of concern out environmental impacts and have been identified as potentially injurious to health (e.g. premature deaths, asthma attacks, respiratory infections, etc.). These impacts impose costs on society. Only part of these costs are covered by the road user whereas a significant amount of these costs are external in the sense that the producer has no payment obligations for the cost of these adverse side-effects. In order to set up any policy to internalise these externalities, the exact amount of the external costs have to be known.

The emphasis of the proposed research training will basically lie on two parts. First a comprehensive valuation of traffic related health costs based on the results of the current state of the art based on the epidemiological literature. Secondly, there will be a panel data analysis conducted to investigate the relationship between ambient air pollution levels and certain health impacts. Based on the results of the panel study, cost analysis will be carried out and compared with the results based on epidemiological work. Looking at the disaggregated city level rather than using average data on the national level, will certainly help to quantify the potential benefits of controlling air pollution and give a major contribution to estimate the total costs of transport. The results of this study could give some guidance for the decision making process of the responsible authorities.

Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)

The training would allow me to continue the work on the proposed research study at one of the best Departments of Economics in Britain and to deepen my knowledge in the field of transport, environmental and health economics. Working with renowned supervisors (Prof. F.R. Fitzroy, Prof. M. Malek) on an interdisciplinary subject, the training would certainly enable me to acquire a wider competence in the areas mentioned. All first year postgraduate research students in the social sciences at the University of St. Andrews participate the course "Research Training in the Social Sciences: A course for postgraduate students in the social sciences". The department also has a regular programme of seminars by renowned external speakers and several internal workshop activities. Generally, it provides a very stimulating environment and certainly is very intellectually challenging.

Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)


University of St Andrews
St. Salvator's College
KY16 9AL St Andrews - Fife
United Kingdom