Important New Study: Bicycle and Pedestrian Infrastructure Creates More Jobs

By Carolyn S on June 20, 2011

imageLast year, a case study from Baltimore showed that bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure created twice as many jobs as road-only construction projects. Now, a larger study confirms those job creation numbers on a wider scale. With the debate on a federal transportation bill imminent, this report provides valuable insight about the important economic benefits of biking and walking. Read the press release from our partners at America Bikes and download the report below.

Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2011) — Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure projects create more jobs per dollar spent than other road construction projects, according to a new study, Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts, conducted and released this month by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

The report builds on an earlier PERI case study of Baltimore, Maryland, and is the first national study to compare job creation of bicycling and walking infrastructure with other roadway construction projects. Using actual bid price and cost data, the study compares 58 projects in 11 cities and finds that bike projects create 46 percent more jobs than road projects without bike or pedestrian components.

On average, the “road-only” projects evaluated created 7.8 jobs per million, while the “bicycling-only” projects provided 11.4 jobs per million. For example, a roadway-focused project with no bicycle or pedestrian components in Santa Cruz, Calif., generated 4.94 jobs per $1 million spent. In contrast, a bicycle-focused project in Baltimore produced 14.35 jobs per million. The PERI reviewers attribute the difference to the simple fact that bicycle and pedestrian projects are often more labor intensive.

“It’s no secret that investing in transportation infrastructure creates jobs and helps the economy,” said Caron Whitaker, Campaign Director at America Bikes. “This study proves bicycle and pedestrian projects are no exception — in fact, they are especially efficient in creating jobs.”

The study arrives as Congress is writing a six-year Surface Transportation bill, and struggling to continue robust reinvestment in infrastructure while moderating federal spending. Funding for bicycling and walking is part of that debate.

“This report adds to a wealth of studies demonstrating the many economic benefits of investing in bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs,” said Andy Clarke, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists.

Download the full report from the Alliance Resource Library.

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