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The ROI of cycling infrastructure

Toronto can’t make up its mind right now as to whether it would like to invest in additional cycling infrastructure. 

Of course, we have a history of vacillating on topics like this. And I think it’s because we’re at a tricky inflection point. We are weaning ourselves off of the car, but most parts of the city remain underserved by transit and heavily dependent on the car.

So today I thought I would share some numbers from a research study that was published last year by Stefan Gössling of Lund University and Andy S. Choi of the University of Queensland. It’s called, Transport transitions in Copenhagen: Comparing the cost of cars and bicycles.

Much of the focus of the paper is on the cost-benefit analysis that the City of Copenhagen uses to make its cycling investment decisions. Here is an excerpt from ScienceDaily:

“If the costs to society and the costs to private individuals are added together, the impact of the car is EUR 0.50 per kilometre and the impact of the bicycle is EUR 0.08 per kilometre.

The study by Stefan Gössling and his colleague also shows that if we only look at costs/benefits for society, one kilometre by car costs EUR 0.15, whereas society earns EUR 0.16 on every kilometre cycled.

“The cost-benefit analysis in Copenhagen shows that investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns,” says Stefan Gössling.”

So there you have it. Now I thought we could debate this in the comment section. Your thoughts?

P.S. The images at the top of this post were taken by me using my new GoPro bicycle handlebar mount.

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