• Bike/Ped Return on Investment

    by  • February 24, 2011 • Economics • 0 Comments

    If you are a state DOT or other government entity, you have a choice about how you spend your transportation dollar. What the Portland Metropolitan Region has found, however, is that the return on investment (ROI) in (a) bike/ped (or “Active Transportation”), (b) transit or (c) motor vehicles (i.e. roadway improvements) is not equal. In terms of bang for their transportation buck, bike/ped crushes motorized commuting. Portland Metro spent about 11 times the amount on motor vehicle infrastructure that they spent on active transportation per new commuter:

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    To put this another way, not only are walking and bicycling the most cost-effective transportation options for the private individual or family in terms of household budget, they are also far and away the most cost-effective transportation investment option for governments facing budget constraints.

    As we struggle to recover from the most severe economic slump since the Great Depression, we’re going to have to, at least temporarily, suspend building bridges to nowhere and roads to subdivisions that don’t exist yet. And we’re going to have to take a few pennies out of those saved dollars and invest instead in making it safe for people to get around by walking and biking.


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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