|M.Sc Student||Armon-Zur Zurit|
|Subject||Tunneling in Highways: A Study of Willingness to Pay for|
Preserving Open Space
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Pnina Plaut|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
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: