How to cite this study
Garrett-Peltier, H. 2011. Pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. A national study of employment impacts. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute.
This report estimates the job creation resulting from the construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities such as bike paths, trails, sidewalks, and related projects. Based on data from transportation and public works departments in 11 cities with 58 projects, the author estimated that on average, these infrastructure projects create 9 in-state jobs for each $1 million of spending and an additional 3 jobs if out-of-state effects are included. Bicycle-only infrastructure projects contributed to the highest level of job creation.
This study is relevant to leaders interested in assessing the job impacts of infrastructure projects. Including pedestrian crossings, sidewalks, and multi-use trails in communities can improve safety and health of users and provide local jobs. Though the study follows the Transportation Research Board’s (TRB) methodology, it only focuses on the capital costs of building pedestrian and bicycle transportation infrastructure. It does not include the costs of ongoing maintenance.
This study encompasses 58 projects in 11 cities: 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.
This report studies the employment impacts of multiple types of infrastructure projects. They are categorized as: bicycle infrastructure only, off-street multi-use trails, on-street bicycle and pedestrian facilities (without road construction), pedestrian infrastructure only, road infrastructure with bicycle and pedestrian facilities, road infrastructure with pedestrian facilities, and road infrastructure only (no bike or pedestrian components).
The purpose of this study was to understand the employment impacts of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. The researcher partnered with America Bikes, a coalition of seven biking organizations that advocate for cycling needs in the United States.
When the authors report the employment impacts for the various types of projects, they show the number of full-time equivalent jobs that are created for each $1 million of spending on any given project. This allows for the comparison of results across cities whose budgets are different and eliminates variation in the data arising from regional price differences.
- For all projects, the average level of job creation is 4.7 direct jobs, 2.1 indirect jobs, and 2.1 induced jobs, for a total of about 9 jobs per $1 million spending.
- Out of all the project studies, the greatest level of job creation comes from infrastructure projects that specifically support cycling. This results in an average of 6 direct jobs per $1 million of spending, 2.4 indirect jobs, and 3 induced jobs for a total of 11.4 jobs created for each $1 million spent on bicycling infrastructure.
- The lowest level of job creation is for road-only projects such as repaving or widening roads. This creates 4 direct, 1.8 indirect, and 1.8 induced jobs for a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million spent on road-only infrastructure.
- The median level of total job creation out 58 projects was about 9 jobs per $1 million invested.
To estimate the employment impacts of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects, the author followed Transportation Research Board (TRB) methodology, collecting data from 58 projects in 11 U.S. cities on prices of construction of cycling, walking, and road infrastructure, including paving materials, signage, bridges, bike racks, and other services. Transportation officials were contacted in 90 cities and 55 responded for interviews. When a project had differing cost estimates from multiple sources, the average was used in this study.
The authors input project data and data from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) into IMPLAN to construct industry purchasing patterns and estimate the direct, indirect, and induced employment impacts.
Added to library on November 13, 2023