טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
M.Sc Thesis
M.Sc StudentArmon-Zur Zurit
SubjectTunneling in Highways: A Study of Willingness to Pay for
Preserving Open Space
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisor Professor Pnina Plaut
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

Open spaces supply environmental and social benefits. Their characteristic features are difficult to measure and evaluate, and so their economic value is often not included in cost-benefit analyses of transportation infrastructure. If they were taken into consideration they could be considered to offset other costs, including construction costs, thus making underground and tunneling projects more cost-efficient.

The study’s objective is to examine the possibility of measuring a public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for an environmental asset (protection of open space) in the context of a transportation project (tunnel). The Stated Preference Method is commonly used for valuation of non-measurable/non-commercial assets. In transportation it is regularly used for evaluation of savings in time. The research sample consists of passengers on Israel’s Highway 6 who currently pay a toll.

A survey was collected using questionnaires examining Highway 6 passengers, their travel characteristics, personal characteristics, attitudes and behavior related to relevant environmental and public issues.

The results indicate four factors influencing the WTP of an additional 1 NIS as a surcharge toll designated for tunnel construction in order to protect open space: 1) Gender (male), 2) Payment of highway 6 travel toll (as opposed to having employer cover), 3) Preference for environmental preservation over development activities and 4) Concern with protection of open spaces.

The main conclusions are:

  1. The pre-condition for willing to pay a surcharge toll is the passenger’s paying the toll himself out of pocket (rather than employer paying), may be due to two things: A) WTP for an environmental amenity (protection of open space) reflects personal preferences and priorities. B) A WTP statement is thought to measure actual importance because it is expressed in money terms.
  2. Payment for protection of an environmental asset is percieved as a donation rather than as a user fee. Passangers who say they are willing to pay use Highway 6 infrequently.
  3. The average increment highway 6 passengers are willing to pay is 20% of their present fee.
  4. Men are more willing than women to pay an incremental surcharge to protect open space. This is consistent with some previous studies showing differences in gender environmental engagement .
  5. Two attitudes about the environment are correlated with WTP for protection of open space: A) support for preservation activities, B) feeling that open space preservation concerns the respondent personally.