A CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK FOR RISK-BENEFIT ASSESSMENTS OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS TRANSPORT

Economic growth in the United States has traditionally been accompanied by a rapid increase in the total volume and number of hazardous materials transported by various modes. Recently along inland waterways, for example, total shipments of basic chemical products, many of which are toxic or hazardous, grew at an 8% rate per annum, compared to 3% for all commodities. While these materials are beneficial inputs to industrial sectors or final products to consumers, they also become risks if accidentally discharged into the environment. Socially optimum choices of transport modes should thus involve a comparison of risk and benefit tradeoffs. This paper outlines the conceptual framework by which economists determine the net welfare impact of transporting commodities by alternative modes. Uncertainties of the data base and problems of quantifying impacts are mentioned as they reduce credibility of the assessment. Finally, methods of evaluating risk via political mechanisms are recognized as frequent alternatives to the economic analysis.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The Proceedings consisting of about 45 papers (about 570 pages) will be available in a bound volume from NTIS about mid-February 1976. Papers from the Fourth International Symposium on Transport of Hazardous Cargoes by Sea & Inland Waterways, Jacksonville, Florida, October 1975.
  • Corporate Authors:

    United States Coast Guard

    2100 Second Street, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20593
  • Authors:
    • Tihansky, D P
  • Publication Date: 1975-10

Media Info

  • Pagination: 10 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00127080
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: United States Coast Guard
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Proceeding
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 5 1975 12:00AM