Bike lanes create more jobs than other road projects, per $ 1 mil

 According to a new report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst says that building bike lanes and pedestrian projects, and bike boulevards, creates more job per million dollars spent than road repairs and road resurfacing.

The study, “Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure,” which examines the costs of engineering, construction, and materials costs for different types of projects in the city of Baltimore, concludes that, for a given amount of spending, bike lanes create about twice as many jobs as road construction. The difference lies in the varying labor intensity and the ratio of engineering costs to construction expenses across project types. Footway repairs and bike lane signing are labor intensive, meaning that a greater share of the total cost goes to pay people than in material heavy road projects. “Each $1 million spent creating on-street bike lanes directly creates 7.9 jobs and creates a total of 14.4 jobs when we include the indirect and induced effects,” the author, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, writes, “The two categories of road repairs have the lowest employment effects, with 3-4 direct jobs and approximately 7 total jobs created for each $1 million.”

Here’s the report’s conclusion:

Investment in transportation infrastructure of all types will generate employment in various industries throughout Baltimore and the State of Maryland. In this case study we find that investments in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure create the most employment for a given level of expenditure. While road construction projects create approximately 7 jobs per $1 million spending, pedestrian projects create over 11 jobs for the same level of spending, and bicycle projects create up to 14 jobs. 

Other studies have shown that investments in bicycle and pedestrian facilities can reduce carbon emissions and improve quality of life. Here we find that these investments bring an additional benefit to the community: they are an important source of job creation.

This new data is just the latest indication that investing in bicycling infrastructure is good for the economy. It should come in handy in March at the National Bike Summit.

Are you going to the summit? For more information on this article or the National Bike Summit-- visit http://www.bikeleague.org/conferences/summit11/index.php.  

The Bay Area Bicycle Coalition will be attending, join us for a trip to Washington, DC!