According to a new report by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, building bike lanes and pedestrian projects, and bike boulevards, create more job per million dollars spent than road repairs and road resurfacing.
The data from this report wasn’t based on Portland, Oregon, Amsterdam or New York City, but BALTIMORE, MARYLAND! Last summer, America Bikes contacted departments of transportation and public works across the county to participate in this study. Baltimore’s DOT supplied ample data needed to complete the research and was selected as a case study to the larger national project.
The study, “Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure,” which examines the costs of engineering, construction, and materials costs for different types of projects concludes that, for a given amount of spending, bike lanes create about twice as many jobs as road construction. The difference lies in the varying labor intensity and the ratio of engineering costs to construction expenses across project types. Footway repairs and bike lane signing are labor intensive, meaning that a greater share of the total cost goes to pay people than in material heavy road projects. “Each $1 million spent creating on-street bike lanes directly creates 7.9 jobs and creates a total of 14.4 jobs when we include the indirect and induced effects,” the author, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, writes, “The two categories of road repairs have the lowest employment effects, with 3-4 direct jobs and approximately 7 total jobs created for each $1 million.”
The outcome of Baltimore’s case study should be considered as future projects are determined, especially now as America looks to recover from this recession by funding projects that create jobs. Maybe America needs to consider actual job creation over ‘shovel readiness’ for infrastructure projects.
Special Thanks to the League of American Bicyclists for the post