I recently came across an awesome report from PERI (Political Economy Research Institute). In the report they outlined the estimations of employment based on the different types of road work which can be done. These types are; bicycle lanes/boulevards, pedestrian facilities and, road repair/construction. Here are some interesting numbers straight from the report;
“While road construction projects create approximately 7 jobs per $1 million spending, pedestrian projects create over 11 jobs for the same level of spending, and bicycle projects create up to 14 jobs.”
As can be seen bicycle and pedestrian facilities create a greater number of jobs than regular road construction with bicycle lanes and boulevards creating double the amount of jobs. These numbers are pulled in from a few different perspectives. There is the direct effect, indirect effect, and the combined effect of both of these on the local economy.
Looking first at the direct effect they analyzed material intensity to labor intensity. As it turns out bike lanes and pedestrian paths take less materials and require more labor. This means that more people are paid for work done and less resources are used up in the process. This labor is specifically involved in the engineering department of the city or business that is doing the initial work. The indirect effects have to do with industries which make signs, haul material, and manufacture the general things needed for said projects. The combined effect of indirect and direct employment is the jobs that are created by these two groups spending money, think food services and health care.
I will let PERI explain the really neat thing about this report and, how it can help cities as well as businesses realize the economic validity of complete streets and livable communities;
“Other studies have shown that investments in bicycle and pedestrian facilities can reduce carbon emissions and improve quality of life. Here we find that these investments bring an additional benefit to the community: they are an important source of job creation.”
With that said we can see that bicycles will give you cleaner air, a better lifestyle and, jobs. Now all we need to do is get this information to our elected officials so they to can see the benefits of making the streets not only safe but, usable for everyone. The original report can be found here and, if you are interested in sharing a link to the report or, this article, you can find the city council emails here. Ride safe, stay warm and, enjoy this break in the weather.