New report shows huge economic potential of cycling for England
New report shows huge economic potential of cycling for England
A new report published by ECF member organisation CTC (Cyclists’ Touring Club) demonstrates the huge economic benefits of cycling. For England alone, the cumulative benefit of increasing cycling modal share to 25% in 2050 would amount to almost 250 billion pounds (ca. 335 billion euros).
The paper by Fiona Crawford and Robin Lovelace (two researchers from the University of Leeds) compared the economic effects of two different British cycling policy plans published during the last two years to a baseline scenario. One is the government’s recently released Cycling Delivery Plan, which aims to double the number of cycling trips within 10 years. This would mean reaching a modal share of cycling of 2.5% in 2025. If the same level of ambition would be kept until 2050, a modal share of 5% could be reached.
This rather modest increase would already lead to substantial economic benefits of 7.6 billion pounds (ca. 10 billion euros) until 2025 and 46.5 billion pounds (ca. 62 billion euros) until 2050. These economic benefits result from a number of factors:
Increased physical fitness (calculated through the World Health Organisation’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling);
decreased casualties from car usage;
reduced absenteeism at the workplace through improved health of employees;
reduction in greenhouse gas emissions;
decreased noise;
improvements in air quality;
improvements in journey quality.
However, these numbers look rather pale compared to the economic benefits that could be reaped if cycling in England rose to the current levels in the Netherlands (ca. 25% of trips). In this case, the cumulative numbers would reach 18.5 billion pounds (25 billion euros) until 2025 and almost 250 billion pounds (335 billion euros) by 2050.
Using a recent report by the British Department of Transport that estimated a cost-benefit ratio of 1:5 for cycling projects, these benefits could be reached with investments of 23 pounds per year per inhabitant of England  until 2050.
You can find CTC’s press release as well as the full report here.
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Taken from the ECF website