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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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