Traffic Accidents, Time Value and the Benefits of Improvements in Environmental Visibility

Edward K. Mensah
Seth Osei-Adjei

DOI: 10.2190/3NB4-GEB9-R2HA-AG83


In the 1977 Amendments to the Clean Air Act Congress directed the Environmental Protection Agency to develop regulations aimed at remedying existing visibility impairments caused by man-made pollutants. The benefits of environmental visibility improvement include reductions in visibility-related health problems, increases in recreational activities, property value and rent increases resulting from good view, improvements in transportation and related business activities, increases in traffic safety, value of travel time saved by motorists, etc. This study uses multiple regression and linear probability models to estimate the monetary value of improvements in traffic safety and time saved by motorists in Cook County, Illinois, as visibility improves. Our results show that ten percent improvement in visibility reduces non-fatal accidents by 15.6 units per day, increases the probability of fatalities by 0.023 per day and reduces travel time by 0.34 miles per hour, yielding an aggregate net benefit of 43 million dollars per year in Cook County.

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