Overall cost-benefit analysis of tunnel construction
In order to be able to make an initial public assessment of tunnel construction and underground projects, it is necessary to take a holistic view that goes beyond an inadequate cost-benefit calculation. Rather, 1. the total investment sum over the entire lifetime of the structure (life cycle cost) must be considered and 2. the social costs or social benefits (social cost benefit) must be included. This includes, for example, the impact of a project on the quality of life, neighborhood development, noise emissions or economic development.
INCLUDE THE SOCIAL BENEFIT AS AN ARGUMENT
A holistic view of all the advantages and disadvantages associated with tunnel construction is therefore imperative and should be seen as a trend in the assessment of urban tunnel construction projects. The social benefit should already be included as an argument in the public opinion-forming process.
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Do you remember the cantonal referendum on the Rosengarten Tunnel, which the Zurich electorate rejected in February 2020? This is an example of a problem that such projects often have: The social costs with the factors of quality of life, neighborhood development, noise reduction and economic development were given little weight in the controversial public discussion. Opponents and supporters of the project argued with a focus on the reasonable or high construction costs for the tunnel. On the other hand, the analysis for the formation of public opinion took too little account of the fact that a tunnel would relieve an entire city district of a high traffic load. Of course, the relieving measures of a tunnel also include accompanying measures (e.g. the promotion of alternative or public means of transport) in order to free the relieved area from traffic in the long term. Only in this way can the argument always put forward by the opposition, "New roads lead to more traffic", be refuted.