Owing to the recent election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States of America, and some of the comments that he’s made to date about infrastructure spending and job creation, the folks over at Bike League recently reposted an old article of theirs discussing the fact that infrastructure projects that incorporate bicycle and pedestrian elements create more jobs than road-only projects.
A lot more.
Around 46% more jobs are created per dollar spent, according to a 2011 study from the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
That shouldn’t be surprising — projects involving multiple, very different elements are bound to require a greater variety of skills — but it’s still important to note, especially if the incoming president is truly going to spend big on infrastructure projects.
Projects that include bicycle and pedestrian elements have a number of other positive effects, it should be remembered, including increased business/sales for nearby businesses. Cleaner air and better public health are other obvious benefits.
Here’s more on the study mentioned above:
“The report builds on an earlier PERI case study of Baltimore, Md 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% 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, California generated 4.94 jobs per $1 million spent. In contrast, a bicycle-focused project in Baltimore, Md 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.”
That does seem the most likely explanation. Either way, infrastructure projects involving pedestrian and bicycle elements, rather than simply road-building, have a number of other positive effects — including reduced air pollution emissions and improved public health (more walking, running, bicycling, etc). Here’s to hoping that the incoming president takes these things into account when making decisions.