Testing a social-psychological model of public acceptance towards highway infrastructure projects: a case study from China

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Journal Article
Engineering, Construction and Architectural Management, 2021, 28, (9), pp. 2772-2787
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Purpose: To test a social-psychological model of public acceptance of highway infrastructure projects in the Chinese architecture/engineering/construction industry. Design/methodology/approach: Through a comprehensive literature review, we established a social-psychological model of public acceptance related to benefit perception, risk perception and public trust. We empirically validated our model by using structural equation model analysis based on a questionnaire survey in the S35 Yongjin Highway Infrastructure Project in Yunnan Province, China. Findings: Benefit, trust and risk perception had a significant influence on local residents' public acceptance of highway infrastructure projects; benefit perception and trust perception had a greater influence than risk perception. Public acceptance among local male residents over the age of 35 or those with higher education levels was more likely to be determined by the relative dominance of risk and benefit perceived. Research limitations/implications: This study contributes empirical evidence to the theoretical literature related to locally unwanted land use (LULU) siting and stakeholders in the field of project management from the public perspective. This study also suggests valuable practical implications to authorities, project managers and the public in decision-making and risk communication. Originality/value: Although previous studies addressed factors affecting public acceptance towards potentially hazardous facilities, understanding of the implications of these social-psychological factors and their effects are still far from sufficient. This study bridges this gap by exploring the determinants of public acceptance towards highway infrastructure projects based on a selected case in China.
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