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Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments

Overview

The national bicycle industry contributes approximately $133 billion annually to the U.S. economy by supporting over 1 million jobs, generating nearly $18 billion in federal, state, and local taxes, and providing nearly $47 billion for meals, transportation, and lodging purchases during bike trips and tours.

The League of American Bicyclists produced this report to examine the positive impact the bicycle industry and bicycle tourism can have on state and local economies. Additionally, the report discusses the cost effectiveness of investments for bicycle infrastructure, analyzes the cost savings associated with bicycling, and identifies the benefits of bike facilities for local business districts and neighborhoods. The evidence provided in this report demonstrates that investments in bicycle infrastructure may be an effective way to generate tourism, support economic activity, and enhance communities as a whole.

Key Points

Bicycling is a healthy, inexpensive, and environmentally-friendly alternative to driving that can have a substantial impact on state and local economies. Though the automobile is still responsible for the majority of trips made in the U.S., there is increasing attention being paid by citizens and policymakers to bicycling as a viable, cost-effective mode of transportation.

Other report highlights include:

  • After investing in proper bicycle infrastructure, North Carolina’s Outer Banks region generates $60 million annually in economic activity through bicycle tourism.
  • A 2009 study of a commercial street in Toronto, Ontario demonstrated that promoting bicycling is good for business. According to the study, people who biked or walked to the area reported they spent more money in the area per month than those who drove to the area. Three-quarters of merchants surveyed for the same study believed that business activity would improve or stay the same if a bike lane replaced half of the on-street parking.
  • The Texas Transportation Institute states that, “Gridlock costs the average peak period traveler almost 40 hours a year in travel delay, and costs the United States more than $78 billion each year…traffic jams are wasting 2.9 billion gallons of gas every year.”

How to Use

This report makes a strong case for the economic impact the bicycle industry and bicycle tourism can have on state and local economies. Government officials, local leaders, and active transit advocates can use this report as a resource when educating their own locality on the importance of bicycle infrastructure investments. When negotiating for investments in bicycle infrastructure, the “Savings” section of the report, found on page 6, should be used to emphasize the impacts in savings on health, road construction, congestion, and environmental remediation. As examples in the U.S. and abroad demonstrate, a modest shift from driving to bicycling is possible. However, it is unlikely without federal, state, and local investments in bicycle facilities.

View Full Report: Economic Benefits of Bicycle Infrastructure Investments (PDF – 13 MB)

 

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