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Pedestrian And Bicycle Infrastructure: A National Study Of Employment Impacts

Executive Summary

Pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure such as side­walks, bike lanes, and trails, can all be used for transportation, recreation, and fitness. These types of infrastructure have been shown to create many bene­fits for their users as well as the rest of the commu­nity. Some of these benefits are economic, such as increased revenues and jobs for local businesses, and some are non-economic benefits such as re­duced congestion, better air quality, safer travel routes, and improved health outcomes. While other studies have examined the economic and non­economic impacts of the use of walking and cycling infrastructure, few have analyzed the employment that results from the design and construction of these projects. In this study we estimate the employment impacts of building and refurbishing transportation infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. We ana­lyze various transportation projects and use state-specific data to estimate the number of jobs created within each state where the project is located.

The data for this study were gathered from de­partments of transportation and public works de­partments from 11 cities in the United States. Using detailed cost estimates on a variety of projects, we use an input-output model to study the direct, indi­rect, and induced employment that is created through the design, construction, and materials pro­curement of bicycle, pedestrian, and road infrastruc­ture. 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.