Building Bike Lanes Creates Twice As Many Jobs As Fixing Roads

building bike lane impact image

From cover of Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure

Here are some interesting, and unsurprising, data from a study found via the Infrastructurist: building bike lanes creates twice as many jobs per dollar spent as does fixing roads. It makes sense; like I noted in a post about renovation vs new construction, it is labour intensive rather than equipment intensive.

bike lane repair data

The author of the study, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, writes:

Why do the employment impacts differ? Two major sources of variation in project costs cause these differences: labor intensity and the relationship between engineering and construction expenses. First, the labor intensity of the projects varies. That is, some projects are more labor-intensive; a greater proportion of the overall expenses are spent on labor versus materials. More labor-intensive projects will have greater employment impacts. Second, the ratio of engineering costs to construction costs varies across projects. Engineering is a more labor- intensive industry than construction, and therefore has a higher employment multiplier. Projects with higher engineering costs (as a share of total project expenses) will therefore have greater employment impacts than projects with a smaller share of engineering costs. These two sources explain the differences in our job estimates presented above. Projects such as footway repairs and bike lane signing and painting are labor intensive - they use a high ratio of labor to materials in comparison to projects such as road repairs, which spend a greater proportion of their total project budget on materials.

Now I'm not saying that we shouldn't fix our roads, but would make the point that if the purpose of a stimulus program is to create jobs, then the last thing you should be cutting are bike lane projects like John Boehner wanted to. Download the pdf report: Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure
On investment and jobs:
Renovation Uses Twice As Much Labor, Half as Much Material as New Construction
Quote of the Day: Republican House Leader on Bikes and Beautification
Alternative Infrastructure: Canals and Railways Far Surpass Highways in Efficiency
At Least Some American Infrastructure Investment Doesn't Involve Cars
No Infrastructure Investment for Concrete!

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