“Bike paths reduce GHG emissions as effectively as highways create them”
Investing in networks of protected cycle paths has significant potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce transport costs, prevent road deaths and improve the quality of life for people in cities around the world.
These are the highlights of a new study published last month that emphasizes the benefits of cycling as a safe, affordable, accessible and low-carbon mode of transport.
“Urban cycling is an often overlooked part of urban transport planning, but this report shows it can unlock climate, environmental and health benefits,” said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation. , in a press release.
“Protected Cycle Paths Protect the Climate” was developed by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy’s global Cycling Cities campaign and supported by the FIA Foundation.
“It is extraordinary to see that dollar-for-dollar protected cycle lanes are not only carbon neutral, but fully mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions created when the same amount of expenditure is spent on highways,” added Watson. “The case for investing in cycling isn’t just about good financial sense, it’s essential for healthier, safer and fairer cities.”
The report found that protected cycle lane networks in middle-income cities are a cost-effective way to reduce emissions compared to other transport decarbonization approaches. “These networks create more economic value each year than it costs to build, given the savings in transportation costs and the public health benefits of increased physical activity” and outperform all other developments in infrastructure.
Researchers examined the impacts of large networks in Bogotá, Colombia and Guangzhou, China. They found that these networks:
- provide the equivalent benefits of planting 300,000 to 400,000 new trees each year
- mitigate almost exactly the same amount of GHG emissions per year created by highway development when comparing dollar-for-dollar expenditures
- provide quantifiable economic benefits, paid for in less than a year
- lead to a tenfold reduction in emissions per dollar spent on infrastructure compared to the development of metro rail systems
According to the report, the cost of building the Bogotá network is estimated at $132 million, saves travelers $80 million per year and prevents 300 deaths per year, representing an economic value of $230 million. , for a profit of 310 million dollars per year in total.
The estimate did not include many other economic benefits of cycling, the researchers noted.
The report includes a free, user-friendly modeling tool to predict the associated costs and climate benefits of investing in protected pathway networks (available for download here in Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets).
“Cities must be designed for the well-being, safety and health of people. Having strong networks of protected bike lanes is key to ensuring more sustainable and inclusive urban mobility,” said Heather Thompson, chief executive of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, in a statement.
“This report presents crucial evidence that extensive networks of protected lanes lead to more cycling, which helps reduce GHG emissions by reducing cars on the road,” Thompson said. “Now is the time for governments and financiers to ensure that more protected cycleway networks are built as a quick and affordable solution to climate change. The proof is there, now is the time to act.”
For more information, click here. For the full report, click here.
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