This present work evaluates the performance of extreme bike scenarios for partners-cities of the Central Europe project “BICY”. With extreme bike scenarios we mean that a city has implemented the best possible conditions for cycling. Our analyses confirm that approximately half of all urban trips are less than five km and could be done by bike. Some cities in the Netherlands have shown that bike mode shares of 40% and higher can be achieved. The question is how much cycling infrastructure and investments are required to convert a city into a top cycling city and what would be the benefits?
For the purpose of establishing a quantitative relation between infrastructure investments, increase in cycling and effects on the environment and health, we reduce the cycling conditions to the presence of cycling infrastructure. It is shown that such a reduction is a conservative assumption as promotion, mobility management and education are low cost measures to increase bike mode share even without expanding the cycling network. The health benefits have been calculated using the HEAT framework developed by the World Health Organization. This is a standard to determine the costs of lives saved due to reduced mortality as a consequence of more physical exercise.
Gathering official data and detailed information from mobility surveys in 13 central European cities with low to medium-high cycling levels, we have estimated the potential bike share with an average of approximately 50%, the required cycling infrastructure necessary to reach the potential between 30 and 370 km of exclusive bikeways and cycling infrastructure costs between 10-60Million. The expected benefits/cost ratios have been found between 1.2 and 15, average 5.7. However, analyses of current stated preferences show that the share of persons willing to start cycling is far less than the potential, even if ideal cycling conditions were provided.
Volume 111, 5 February 2014, Pages 508–517
Transportation: Can we do more with less resources? – 16th Meeting of the Euro Working Group on Transportation – Porto 2013
Keywords: bicycling; cost-benefit analysis; CBA; HEAT; health impact assessment; transport economics; life expectancy; transport policy