In these economic times, we can only afford to invest in solutions that solve multiple problems. Bicycling and walking programs do that and they are essential to our communities. When every tax dollar has to do the most good, it’s the right time to invest in bicycling. That’s the message at the 2011 National Bike Summit.
We are asking Congress to support continued dedicated funding for vital bicycling and walking programs such as Transportation Enhancements, Safe Routes to School, and the Recreational Trails Program.
Our program lays out some of the ways that bicycling is a simple solution to many complex problems (p. 20).
In 2009, we released a literature review of the best research into the economic impacts of investing in bicycling infrastructure. Since then there have been several good additions.
Cost-effective: Between 1995 and 2010, the Portland region spent $4.2 billion on roadway improvements and $153 million on all active transportation improvements. Since 1990, the City of Portland saw an increase of 14,912 in daily bicycle commute trips and 37,006 in daily auto trips. The cost of a new auto trip in Portland was approximately 22 times the cost of a new bicycle commute trip.
Another new Portland study, by Thomas Gotschi, found that:
By 2040, investments in the range of $138 to $605 million will result in health care cost savings of $388 to $594 million, fuel savings of $143 to $218 million, and savings in value of statistical lives of $7 to $12 billion. The benefit-cost ratios for health care and fuel savings are between 3.8 and 1.2 to 1, and an order of magnitude larger when value of statistical lives is used.
Job creating: A Baltimore study shows that for each $1 million spent, striping bike lanes and signing bike routes creates twice as many jobs as repaving and repairing roads, thank to a favorable labor to materials ratio.
Economy supporting: Bicycle tourism brings in a $1 billion to the Wisconsin economy, in addition to the $556 million from manufacturing, distribution, and retail.
…and then there’s the Green Dividends of…
Let’s use this week to get the word out.
League Policy Director
Flusche joined the League in April 2009 and has a B.A. in history from Syracuse University and a Masters of Public Administration with a concentration in public policy analysis from New York University.