Sunday, November 16, 2014

Investment in cycling can bring very strong returns to society.

new statistical report from the Department for Transport in the UK shows that investing in cycling brings huge economic, social and health benefits, with some cycling schemes having a benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) of up to 35 to 1. The newly-funded cycling schemes have BCRs of 5.5:1 – the Department for Transport said this means that "for every £1 of public money spent, the funded schemes provide £5.50 worth of social benefit." The DfT's "Value for Money" guidance says a project will generally be regarded as "medium" if the BCR is between 1.5 and 2; and "high" if it is above 2. In transport terms, 35 to 1 is most definitely "off the scale".To put this into perspective, the Eddington transport study of 2006 said the BCR for trunk roads was 4.66, local roads 4.23 and light rail schemes a measly 2.14. The UK's £43bn HS2 rail project has a BCR of just 2.3. Ministers often state that road and rail projects offer "high" benefit to cost ratios.This tallies with another ground-breaking DfT report, "Claiming the Health Dividend", also released today; the report riffs on the many benefits of "active travel", stressing that the investment case for cycling is "compelling." Read on here. 

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