Streets With Bike Lanes are a Kind of Economic Stimulus


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Better for Economy Than Car-Only Streets
A new report by the University of Massachusetts' Political Economy Research Institute confirms that bike lanes are not just good for our health and for the environment, but they are also very good for the health of the economy. Some of the ways it brings benefits are: Tourism, more traffic to local businesses, increased property values, healthier citizens, etc.
Photo: Flickr, CC

The reports says:

Overall we find that bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located. Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million. [...]

Economic benefits include tourism and recreation-related spending (which is a boon to businesses and increases local tax revenues), and a rise in real estate values. Other benefits include higher quality of life, environmental benefits such as buffer zones to protect water sources from pollution run-off, and mitigation of flood damage. A 2008 user survey of a multi-use trail in Pennsylvania showed that over 80 percent of users purchased "hard goods" such as bikes and cycling equipment in relation to their use of the trail, and some also pur- chase "soft goods" such as drinks and snacks at nearby establishments.

None of this is surprising, but we must be careful about how we use that information. Bike lanes would still be worth building even if they didn't provide a direct economic benefit - the health and environmental benefits are enough - so this is just the cherry on top.

Via UMASS, ThinkProgress
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