Streets Built For Bikes and Pedestrians Also Yield More Jobs

Want to get the most job-creation bang for your infrastructure buck? Focus on meeting the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

A new study from the University of Massachusetts finds that bike and pedestrian infrastructure projects create 46 percent more jobs than road projects built strictly for cars. The findings are based on an analysis of 58 projects in 11 cities, from Anchorage to Baltimore.

Building bike lanes puts more people to work per dollar spent than roads built only for car traffic, according to a new study. Photo: Mlive.com

When it comes to putting people to work, all projects are simply not created equal, says Meghan Cahill at the League of American Bicyclists in her overview:

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, Md. produced 14.35 jobs per million. The 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 [sponsors of the study]. “This study proves bicycle and pedestrian projects are no exception — in fact, they are especially efficient in creating jobs.”

Kind of flies in the face of the whole “we can’t afford to spend money on sidewalks during a recession” argument being advanced by some leading members of Congress, doesn’t it?

Elsewhere on the Network today: Mobilizing the Region explains that an under-reported aspect of GOP proposals for HSR in the Northeast Corridor is a massive reduction in funding. New Jersey Future says it’s a sign of the changing times: Multi-family housing developers in the Garden State have formed a lobby to promote their interests. And Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reports on The Fast Lane about widespread support among the U.S. Conference of Mayors for the president’s high-speed rail plan.