CTA criticizes transportation costs report
Aug 24, 2008 5:12 PM
The Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) is criticizing a Transport Canada report that estimates the annual cost of transportation in the country at $198 billion-to-$233 billion, according to CTA information.
The Transport Canada study looked at costs in 2000 of providing and the use of transport facilities and services, as well as non-monetary costs associated with transportation activities such as road congestion delays, accidents, and environmental damage, CTA said.
CTA noted that the scope of the study included all modes of transport and all networks and services, irrespective of the provider (governmental or private).
The alliance also took aim at the report's efforts at quantifying the social costs of transportation. “Try as they might, allocating costs and determining social costs of anything, especially transportation is at best an art, it is certainly not a science,” says David Bradley, CTA chief executive officer. “As a result, to use this report for policy development would be very risky.”
CTA also expressed concerns about the study's data availability and limitations and the challenges related to methodologies used to allocate costs and to quantify and monetize impacts of transportation activities.
In comparing the modal costs, CTA said the study relied upon an outdated and biased measurement of modal activity. Bradley said the study used tonne-kilometres as the chief measure of modal activity, which he said favors modes like rail and marine that move heavy loads over long distances. He added that the report finds that in terms of tonne-kilometres, rail is the dominant mode of freight transportation, even though, for example, trucking’s share of Canada's gross domestic product is about three times that of rail. “This skews the numbers, especially when doing environmental cost comparisons,” said Bradley.
He also noted that while the report looks at the costs of transportation, it does not take into consideration the benefits.
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