Evaluating the Economic Benefits of Nonmotorized Transportation

Case Studies and Methods for the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program Communities
Source: John A Volpe National Transportation Systems Center, US Department of Transportation (USDOT), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

This report examines potential methods for evaluating the economic benefits from nonmotorized transportation investments. The variety of potential economic benefits of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and programming investments discussed include commute cost savings for bicyclists and pedestrians, direct benefits to bicycle and tourism-related businesses, indirect economic benefits due to changing consumer behavior, and individual and societal cost savings associated with health and environmental benefits.

This report reviews potential methods for analyzing these different economic benefits at the project, neighborhood, and larger community scale, highlighting case studies from Minneapolis, Toronto, New York City, and the State of Vermont. A review of previous economic evaluations of nonmotorized transportation investments and available analysis tools suggests that researchers should choose evaluation methods and scales of analysis appropriate to the project or program they intend to evaluate. Researchers should also consider the availability of baseline data and control data when designing an evaluation approach.

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