All benefits from road investment are \"Social Benefits\" in the sense that they accrue to, and meet the needs, of society. In fact the main framework used to evaluate roads is often referred to as \"Social Cost-Benefit Analysis\". Here the adjective 'social' is used to emphasize that the result covers the effects on the whole population. This is different from a private or commercial cost-benefit analysis where costs and benefits are only analyzed from the point of view of a limited group of people. However the term 'social benefits' is often used to identify benefits that are non-economic in nature, left out from an economic cost-benefit analysis, or perhaps wrongly valued within an economic appraisal. In order to discuss social benefits in a way in which they may be eventually incorporated properly in an evaluation framework it is first necessary to consider what economic cost-benefit analysis covers or misses out.
Are social benefits the missing component of road appraisal?