A Brief Cost and Benefit Analysis of Cycling
If you had a chance to catch yesterday’s post, you probably inferred that not many commuters bicycle to work in the Lehigh Valley. Because most suburban streets are designed to accommodate vehicles, the pedestrian and cyclist is usually not a top planning priority. Some might argue that planning for auto-traffic is most fair, since much of the road funding comes from gas tax paid by motorists – but this line of argument is short-sighted, as it fails to account for the benefits that a community reaps from a cycling population.
On Portlandize (a Portland-based cycling blog), the author briefly addresses the sometimes-raised criticism that bicyclists do not chip enough into road maintenance, and, thus, should somehow contribute more resources if they would like to see road-sharing infrastructure. In response to this, the entry author rightfully states, “Infrastructure to support cycling is not only much more economical in a direct sense, but improves the health of a city, improves the air quality, reduces noise, reduces traffic congestion, and helps soften the modern world we live in by putting people out in public instead of giant steel boxes.” The fact remains that the costs of road maintenance from bicycle traffic are minuscule (as compared to vehicle traffic) and the benefits (economic, social, and environmental) are plentiful.
Despite these benefits, it is uncertain whether suburban road planning will begin to accomodate more cyclists. What sort of incentives could be provided to municipalities in order to encourage more complete street design? Post your thoughts on this below.
Posted on October 7, 2009, in Municipal Government, Public Infrastructure, Regions, Transportation, Urbanism and tagged Regions, sustainable transportation, Transit, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.