Socioeconomic assessment of the lake of Geneva crossing project

In order to reduce the traffic in the center of the city of Geneva, Switzerland, the authorities are planning to complete a highway bypass around the city. The plan would entail crossing a part of the lake of Geneva. EBP was commissioned to assess the expected socioeconomic impacts  in case the project would not be realized.

The details of the project were worked out after Geneva’s residents voted in favor of a lake crossing in a referendum held in 2016. EBP was assigned to examine the socioeconomic implications of not realizing the project. These can be expected to manifest themselves, for instance, in the form of gridlock delays or accident costs. The benefit of the lake crossing would consist in reducing these costs.

Impact on traffic

EBP assessed the cantonal multi-modal traffic model and ascertained the following likely consequences  of a renouncement to complete the Geneva highway bypass:

  • The transfer of traffic from the city center will be impeded.
  • The attractiveness of the Geneva highway bypass will remain limited on account of the missing gap closure expected with the lake crossing.
  • Travel times will increase significantly throughout the agglomeration.

Benefit of the lake crossing

To determine the impact of not realizing the lake crossing, EBP carried out a cost-benefit analysis (CBA), which, however, did not include the costs because the relevant data were not yet available. In a first step, we considered a selection of the most relevant benefit indicators. In a second step, we will complete the assessment with further indicators to establish conformity with the applicable Swiss standard for CBAs.

The results of the CBA show so far that renouncing to building a lake crossing would lead to significant future costs. The costs associated with gridlock delays could not be reduced and the city center would not be relieved of its traffic burden. While this conclusion is based on an initial estimate, it is not expected to change once the CBA has been fully completed.

Picture Credits: © 2017 Calatrava Valls SA

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