What are the financial benefits of cycling?
Sharing Road Space (Granville et al., 2001)
- As a result of low maintenance costs and nil fuel requirements, more people can afford to cycle than to use any other transport method. Thus, cycling is seen to be a very cost efficient mode of transport for journeys of five miles or less.
- An average midsize car driven 10,000 miles in a year costs its driver about $.76 per mile, or $7,574 for the year. The estimate includes gasoline, oil, maintenance, tires, insurance, license, registration, taxes, depreciation, and finance charges.
- …“externalities,” they boost the true cost of driving a car to about $1.20 per mile, according to one estimate.
- Gary Barnes at the University of Minnesota tallied the economic benefits of cycling to his state. In a state of about 5 million people, his conservative estimate found that Minnesota’s modest rate of bicycling – about 1.5% of adult trips and 5% of trips by children – led to fiscal benefits in excess of $300 million per year.
- Todd Litman and the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (VTPI) in British Columbia calculate that for every mile of travel shifted from automobile to bicycle, society saves an average of 24 cents. Using VTPI’s methodology, we find that if 5% of car trips in the greater Seattle area were shifted to bicycle, the public would save an average of $970,000 per day in automobile-related costs,
(Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, 2012)
- The New Zealand Transport Agency estimated in 2008 a savings of $4.27 per km walked and $2.14 per km cycled (NZ $) taking into account morbidity, mortality, and health-sector costs.
(McKeown, 2007) – Air Pollution Burden of Illness from Traffic
- Implementation of comprehensive, integrated policies and programs could reduce total vehicle travel by 30 to 50%.
- A 30% reduction in motor vehicle emissions in Toronto could save nearly 200 lives and result in 900 million dollars in health benefits annually.
(Sælensminde, 2004) - Cost-benefit analyses of walking and cycling
- The benefits of investments in cycle networks are estimated to be at least 4–5 times the costs. Such investments are thus more beneficial to society than other transport investments.
(Smith Lea, 2009) - Bike Lanes
- I-CE, a Dutch bicycle planning expertise centre […] calculated that the benefits of building bicycle lanes are 7.3 times higher than the costs
- A recent Canadian study demonstrated that […] if everyone rode as much as they do in Victoria, B.C., which currently has the highest levels of active transportation in Canada, the benefits in terms of congestion reduction, roadway costs, pollution, safety, etc. would increase to $7.0 billion per year (Go for Green, 2004). This study also found that proximity to recreational trails increase property values.
(Toronto Public Health, 2012) - Road to Health: Improving Walking and Cycling in Toronto
- Based on very conservative calculations, 2006 levels of walking and cycling in Toronto are estimated to prevent about 120 deaths each year. Total savings from these prevented deaths range from $130 million to $478 million depending on how deaths are valued.
- Achieving walking and cycling commuting mode shares of 12% and 6%, respectively, would prevent about 100 additional deaths each year, yielding additional annual benefits of $100 million to $400 million
- A US study found that inactive individuals incur over $600 in additional health care costs per year as compared to active individuals.
- A Canadian study calculated that physical inactivity alone is directly associated with $1.6 billion in annual health care costs in Canada, or 1.5% of all Canadian health care costs. Each additional 10% increase in physical activity in Canada would translate to annual direct health care savings of up to $150 million.
- Across Canada, physical inactivity is estimated to cost $3.7 billion in economic productivity loss, due to its role in coronary artery disease, stroke, hypertension, colon cancer, breast cancer, type II diabetes and osteoporosis. Together, inactivity and obesity are estimated to account for $6.4 billion in lost economic output due to short- and long-term disability and premature death.
- One study modeled the air quality effects of eliminating automobile round trips of 8 km and shorter and replacing 50% of them with bicycle trips in 11 metropolitan areas in the Upper Midwestern US. They estimated net health benefits from reduced urban particulate matter (PM 2.5) and ozone to be $3.5 billion per year.
- The Ontario Medical Association (2005) estimated that provincial costs associated with air pollution exposure were $7.8 billion in 2005. In the City of Toronto, traffic-related pollution was estimated to cause 440 premature deaths, 200,000 restricted activity person-days and 1,700 hospitalizations per year in 2007. Mortality costs alone were valued at $2.2 billion.
- In a review of 16 economic analyses of the health-related impact of interventions to increase walking and cycling, the median health benefit to cost ratio was 5:1. The five studies deemed highest quality by the authors yielded cost-benefit ratios from ~3:1 to ~14:1,
- These ratios increase further when also considering benefits that are not health-related. An analysis by the Sustainable Development Commission (2011) highlights benefit-cost ratios of 18:1 to 38:1 for small-scale cycling schemes using the UK NATA framework for benefit-cost analysis. Major cycling infrastructure projects are pegged at 11:1, while local highway road schemes have benefit-cost ratios of 4:1 or 5:1. The NATA framework monetizes costs and benefits related to: changes in journey time, travel costs, accidents, noise and greenhouse gas emissions.
- The high benefits to cost ratios enable the achievement of high mode shares without excessive costs. In Portland where the cycling mode share is between 3% and 7%, bike facilities comprised less than one percent of Portland’s capital expenditures for transportation from 2001 to 2007.
- …the total expenditures on pedestrian infrastructure are undoubtedly well below the $76 to 278 million in benefits from prevented deaths each year.
- The value of active transportation in Toronto
- The reductions in mortality from current levels of walking and cycling in the Toronto population are worth between $130 million and $478 million each year. These benefits – which accrue from about 120 prevented deaths – are rarely considered in transportation planning and decision-making. How do these values compare to Toronto’s expenditures on walking and cycling?
- Approximately $14 million of the City’s annual capital transportation budget is dedicated to improvements in walking and cycling infrastructure – or, 5% of the total capital expenditures for Transportation Services. Over the next five years, $9 million of the City’s capital transportation budget will be allocated to cycling infrastructure and projects each year.
- Costs of collisions, injuries, and fatalities
- Improving safety for pedestrians and cyclists in Toronto could avoid over $60 million in direct and indirect economic costs.
- Across Ontario, the 2% of collisions that involve pedestrians lead to 11% of the social costs of all collisions in Ontario. Investing in safety for users of active transportation has the potential to yield disproportionate economic benefits