A new study by the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Pedestrian and Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study of Employment Impacts, has found that infrastructure projects with major bicycling and walking components are more labor-intensive and create 46% more jobs overall than “road-only” projects.
National non-profit America Bikes released a statement about the study today with their Executive Director Caron Whitaker saying, “It’s no secret that investing in transportation infrastructure creates jobs and helps the economy. This study proves bicycle and pedestrian projects are no exception — in fact, they are especially efficient in creating jobs.”
The study was published today by Heidi Garrett-Peltier. In her summary, she explained that data for the study was gathered from departments of transportation and public works departments from 11 U.S. cities including; Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Bloomington, Indiana; Concord, New Hampshire; Eugene, Oregon; Houston, Texas; Lexington, Kentucky; Madison, Wisconsin; Santa Cruz, California; and Seattle, Washington.
Garrett-Peltier and her team used project bids and cost estimates to analyze the direct, indirect, and induced employed created through the various projects. Here’s an excerpt from the summary (emphasis mine):
We evaluate 58 separate projects and present the results by project, by city, and by category. Overall we find that bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located. Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million. On average, the 58 projects we studied create about 9 jobs per $1 million within their own states. If we add the spill-over employment that is created in other states through the supply chain, the employment impact rises by an average of 3 additional jobs per $1 million.
If this sounds familiar, it’s because this study builds on preliminary findings by PERI from Baltimore, Maryland that were released back in January.
The report comes out just at Congress is putting the finishing touches on a new transportation bill. Advocates will now add this to their quiver of arguments that spending for bicycling-centric projects should not be scuttled due to the notion that traditional road projects create more jobs.
Download a PDF of the report here.