We’re already big fans of biking infrastructure, and now a new report, “Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure,” reveals that pedestrian and bicycle projects create twice as many jobs per dollar spent than regular road projects. The study, which focused on Baltimore, says, “pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million of spending while road infrastructure projects create approximately 7 jobs per $1 million of expenditures.”
In fact, more indirect jobs were also created by bike projects than road upgrades. “$1 million in spending on pedestrian projects creates 11.3 jobs. Six of these jobs are directly created in the construction and engineering industries,” the study found. “An additional 2.2 jobs are indirectly created in industries such as concrete manufacturing and sign manufacturing. Further, 3.1 jobs in retail, healthcare, and food services are created through the induced effect. Thus a total of 11.3 jobs result from the initial $1 million pedestrian project.”
Similarly, every $1 million spent on biking infrastructure creates 7.9 direct jobs and a total of 14.4 indirect and induced jobs.
On the other hand, road repairs seem to have the lowest employment effects – check out the table above.
Study after study proves that the benefits of cycling far outweigh the costs and risks involved. Current Department of Transportation Head Ray LaHood has been a huge proponent of getting people on two-wheels. But as LaHood pointed out in his blog, even though 12 percent of all trips are done by bike or foot, we only spend one percent of our transportation budget on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
But now, with an added economic incentive, hopefully more communities will invest in larger bike and pedestrian infrastructure.