Monday, August 3, 2015

Economic benefits of active transport

The U.S. Department of Transportation recently published a white paper on evaluating the economic benefits of non-motorised transport. It provides a short review of available economic analysis tools, and recommendations on how they may be used. The comparison table of tools in Appendix A provides a useful comparison of what the tools can tell you, their data needs and usefulness.

Although it is a very brief paper, it provides an extensive list of reference works that provide some interesting data snippets from the USA and the UK.

Some interesting snippets of facts cited in the report:

Project specific economic benefits in New York:

  • 49% increase in retail sales near the protected bike lanes on 8th and 9th Avenues in Manhattan (compared to a 3% increase borough-wide)
  • 49% fewer commercial vacancies near the reconfigured pedestrian plaza at Union Square North (compared to 5% more borough-wide)
  • 172% increase in retail sales at Pearl Street in Brooklyn, where an underused parking area was converted to a pedestrian plaza (compared to an 18% increase borough-wide).
  • 58% decrease in injuries to all street users on 9th Avenue in Manhattan where a protected bike lane was installed
Macro-economic benefits: Vermont
  • Vermont hosted over 40 running and cycling events in 2009, which attracted over 16,000 participants spending over $6 million in the state. The running- and cycling-related spending from these events supported an estimated 160 workers;
  • A business survey found that bicycle- and pedestrian-oriented businesses in Vermont generated $37.8 million in output and directly employed 820 workers with $18.0 million in labor earnings

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