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Down To Earth

More jobs in bike lanes than other road projects

Just a lunchtime quickie: The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst published a new report that indicates building pedestrian projects, bike lanes and bike boulevards create more jobs per million dollars spent than strictly focusing on road repairs and road resurfacing. Researchers studied the costs of engineering, construction, and materials for different types of projects in the city of Baltimore, Md. and concluded that, for a given amount of spending, bike lanes create about twice as many jobs as road construction. They require fewer materials and as a result for every $1 million spent there are about 14 jobs created.

Sounds much more cost effective to me.

Author of the study, Heidi Garrett-Peltier, wrote:

Why do the employment impacts differ? Two major sources of variation in project costs cause these differences: labor intensity and the relationship between engineering and construction expenses. First, the labor intensity of the projects varies. That is, some projects are more labor-intensive; a greater proportion of the overall expenses are spent on labor versus materials. More labor-intensive projects will have greater employment impacts. Second, the ratio of engineering costs to construction costs varies across projects. Engineering is a more labor- intensive industry than construction, and therefore has 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. These two sources explain the differences in our job estimates presented above. Projects such as footway repairs and bike lane signing and painting are labor intensive - they use a high ratio of labor to materials in comparison to projects such as road repairs, which spend a greater proportion of their total project budget on materials.


Down To Earth

The DTE blog is committed to reporting and sharing environmental news and sustainability information from across the Inland Northwest.