A few (quantitative) reasons why bike-ped infrastructure gets high ROI

Filed Under: Advocacy & Policy
Post By: jwilson
Posted On: November 28, 2012

Infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking is critical to New York’s multi-modal transportation system because it:

1.    Creates 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects [1].

2.     Ranks as one of the top priorities when deciding where to live. The 2011 Community Preference Survey, conducted on behalf of the National Association of Realtors, found 77% of those polled considered having sidewalks and places to take a walk one of their top priorities when deciding where they’d like to live.

3.     Reduces health care costs by offering a low-cost opportunity for all New Yorkers, irrespective of age or fitness level, to walk or bike, increase their daily physical activity, and improve their health. According to a report just released by the NYS Comptroller, New York State spent an estimated $11.8 billion dealing with obesity in 2011, including Medicaid spending of more than $4.3 billion on obesity-related treatment for conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Medicaid costs have a significant impact on local government spending.

4.     Makes travel safer for persons of all ages and abilities by establishing a non-motorized link in our transportation system.   The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatal Accident Reporting System (FARS) indicates that approximately twenty-five percent of all highway fatalities in New York State involve a person walking or bicycling.[2]

5.     Enhances local economies with tourism dollars. Bicycle tourism is now the second most popular recreation activity in the U.S. according to the Outdoor Industry Association, and bicycle tourists spend money—often up to $100-$300 per day, on food, lodging, visits to other recreation and cultural sites, gear.

6.     Supports emergency preparedness. The extensive bicycle network and vast pedestrian amenities implemented by NYCDOT during the Bloomberg administration, better equipped NYC residents and workers to safely and efficiently travel throughout the five boroughs in the absence of transit and the presence of gridlock in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

[1] Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report, Alliance for Biking and Walking.