The objective of the project is the development of a method for the assessment of the quality of different transportation systems and service providers in Europe. The scope of the method for both the transportation of goods as well as passengers is exemplified by test-runs and analysis regarding the distances Frankfurt - Milan, London - Lille and Munich - Patras. A set of indicators/variables needed for the calculation of internal and external performance values of transportation systems is derived and collected in a data base. The project output is used in consulation services for policy representatives, planers, investors and transportation service providers.
Besides directly measurable, internal quality indicators for each of the distances considered (e.g. speed, frequencies of transport, internal costs), subjectively felt quality components were assessed (e.g. comfort). As a third influencing factor with respect to the quality of transportation services the external effects of the various means of transportation were included. This was the work package provided by the ZEW. The externalities were differentiated into accident costs (health risks and injury), environmental costs (pollution, climate impact, noise emissions, trenching) and other social costs of transportation (occupied areas, infrastructural costs, subsidies). Methodologically, it was chosen to adhere to a bottom-up analytical strategy, working upward from the micro level, under the heading of an Impact-Pathway-Approach. This requires, in a first step, the calculation of accidents and emissions (especially noise and pollution) specific to the distances under consideration and for the different means of transport utilised. According to model assumptions the environmental burden is derived. The second step, then, aims to quantify the impact on the population, wildlife and buildings. Finally, these hazards are evaluated.
The following, for example, was calculated for roadway passenger transport from Frankfurt - Milan: External costs amount to 44 ECU per 1000 passsenger kilometers (pkm). These include costs of pollution (15.6), costs of climate impact (5.2), costs of noise (3.8) and uncovered accident costs (19.6 ECU/1000 pkm). On the comparative side, the costs associated with roadway passenger transport are shown to be nine times as high as those for railway passenger transport, and twice as high compared to airway passenger transport. In addition, at about 30 ECU per 1000 ton kilometers (tkm), the external costs of roadway freight are about 11 times those of railway freight.

Selected Publications

Discussion and Working Papers

Weinreich, Sigurd, Klaus Rennings, B. Schlomann, C. Geßner and T. Engel (1998), External Costs of Road, Rail and Air Transport - a Bottom-Up Approach, ZEW Discussion Paper No. 98-06, Mannheim. Download


Europäische Kommission, Generaldirektion Forschung , Brüssel , BE

Project duration

01.05.1996 - 31.10.1997

Project members

Sigurd Weinreich (Coordinator)
Dr. Klaus Rennings

Cooperation partner

Istituto di Studi per l’Informatica e i Sistemi, Rom, IT
Institut d' Evaluation des Strategies sur l´Energie et l´Environment en Europe, Paris, FR
Ente per le Nuove Tecnologie, l´Energia et l´Ambiente, Rom, IT