Study: Biking Infrastructure Projects Create More Jobs Than Auto-Based Initiatives

Bicycling is cleaner, more efficient, and in many cases more fun than driving a car around the city. Now a study (PDF) from the Political Economy Research Institute says that building bike infrastructures creates up to twice as many jobs than auto-based infrastructure projects.

The study, Estimating the Employment Impacts of Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Road Infrastructure, examined job creation data from 2008 provided by Baltimore, Maryland. The result: pedestrian and bike infrastructure projects create 11 to 14 jobs per $1 million of spending while road infrastructure initiatives created seven jobs per $1 million of spending.

Biking and pedestrian projects require more engineers than construction workers, according to the report. Projects that require more engineers are more labor intensive than simple construction jobs, and often have the effect of creating more supporting jobs. This is, the report explains,  because they have  "a higher employment multiplier. Projects with higher engineering costs (as a share of total project expenses) will therefore have greater employment impacts than projects with a smaller share of engineering costs."

So if cities really want to boost infrastructure jobs, they should get to work on sidewalks and bike paths. This kind of construction won't just create jobs; it will ultimately create more livable cities.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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4 Comments

  • Katie

    There is nothing political about bicycling. It's just another way to get around in addition to the option to automobiles, public tansit and walking. In dense cities, biking may be a good option for many people.

  • JB

    I have to say that I've been a fan of FastCompany for years. But in the last few months the quality of the articles has dropped like a rock. This used to be one of the places I went to for great UX and design articles with insightful information. Now it has become a thinly veiled opportunity for the authors to preach the politically correct gospel to the rest of us "rubes". Currently 5 of the 18 articles on the homepage are blatantly political, and another 4 are borderline. The twitter stream is even worse.

    The editors need to wake up and realize that this is not the place to spew their personal political beliefs. No matter what they are, you are going to alienate and offend half of your audience, if not more.

    Get back to what made FC great and stop this pcglobalwarmingsustainabilityvegitarianwerebetterthanyou nonsense. Grow up.

  • Sandra Limpert

    Tim, I think your logic is skewed. Did you even read this study? I cannot see how you actually read it before you made such a comment unless you lack critical thinking skills.

  • Tim Todd

    Of course! Small projects that make limited use of heavy machinery because of space constraints require more "laborers" per million dollars. So maybe we ought to require roadways to be created with wheelbarrow operators so we can have more "jobs" per million dollars.