Friday, March 11, 2011

Costs and benefits of bicycling facilities

From the Victoria Transport Policy Institute newsletter about a new study on the benefits of investments in bike facilities: Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments in Portland, Oregon; This study by Thomas Gotschi, published in the 'Journal of Physical Activity and Health,' indicates that bicycle facility investments provide net benefits considering just health care service and fuel cost savings, and far greater economic returns when total benefits to users and society are considered.
Methods: Costs of investment plans are compared with 2 types of monetized health benefits, health care cost savings and value of statistical life savings. Levels of bicycling are estimated using past trends, future mode share goals, and a traffic demand model.

Results: 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. Conclusions: This first of its kind cost-benefit analysis of investments in bicycling in a US city shows that such efforts are cost-effective, even when only a limited selection of benefits is considered.

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