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Assessment of the economic costs of vehicle traffic congestion in the Caribbean: a case study of Trinidad and Tobago

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Assessment of the economic costs of vehicle traffic congestion in the Caribbean: a case study of Trinidad and Tobago

Autor: Phillips, Willard - Thorne, Elizabeth - Chong Ling, Esther Descripción física: 51 pages Editorial: ECLAC Data: janeiro 2024 Signatura: LC/TS.2023/191


Vehicle traffic congestion produces significant economic costs in most cities and metropolitan regions of the world. It is also a significant source of green house gas emissions as well as other air pollutants which in turn contribute to major health risks. Traffic congestion also generates additional impacts including stress, fatigue and depression among commuters, and is possibly linked to increased antisocial behaviour and diminished road safety. The problem has become a major challenge among Caribbean small island developing states (SIDS), especially in the context of the subregion’s growing urbanization and increasing levels of motorization over the past three decades. And while several studies have been undertaken for other countries and regions around the world, the phenomenon has not benefitted from such inquiry in Caribbean countries. The present study seeks to contribute to remedying this deficiency by assessing the economic costs of vehicle traffic congestion in one Caribbean case country – Trinidad and Tobago. Towards this end, a survey was conducted to glean insights into commuters’ traffic congestion experience in terms of location and time delays, and collected data were used to estimate a Value of Lost Time as a measure of direct economic costs. The assessment suggests that vehicle traffic congestion imposes a direct economic burden of roughly 1.37% of annual GDP on Trinidad and Tobago. This measure represents a lower bound estimate of economic costs, given that it does not include other social and environmental costs typically associated with the phenomenon. This estimate is likey to have important public policy implications for the country, as it seeks to implement strategies for mitigating the problem in the future.


Introduction .-- I. Traffic congestion – Theoretical considerations .-- II. Vehicle traffic congestion in Trinidad and Tobago .-- III. Study methodology .-- IV. Study findings: results of analysis .-- V. Policy implications and conclusions .-- VI. Limitations of the research.