The UK Government committed to a major road project to improve the A303 to improve connectivity to the south-west of England, while reducing the impact of the road on the Stonehenge World Heritage Site.
Simetrica-Jacobs designed a large and innovative contingent valuation study to understand the value that different groups would place on a potential relocation through a road tunnel underneath the site. The study focused on the tranquillity of the site, in terms of noise reduction and visual amenity, and the reduction in landscape severance caused by the road. This enabled Green Book-consistent valuation of a range of benefits that are not normally captured in DfT Transport Appraisal Guidance.
The study calculated the overall value of the removal of the A303 road, combining the willingness to pay of three groups: visitors, road users, and the general population. These monetizable values were included in Highways England’s final cost-benefit analysis for the project. The scheme has since been approved, subject to Development Consent Order, based on the business case and its positive benefit cost ratio, the majority of which was provided through the Simetrica-Jacobs contingent valuation study.
The study was presented by DfT at the European Transport Conference as an example best practice in valuing non-market cultural heritage assets.