Huge Returns on Bicycle Facility Investments

Bottom line:  A 6.7 million dollar one time investment continues to yield an estimated 60 million dollar annual return.  

Economic Impact of Investing in Bicycle Facilities: A Case Study

In the summer of 2003, the North Carolina Department of Transportation Division of Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation (DBPT) commissioned a study to assess the value of their investment in bicycle facilities. The Institute for Transportation Research and Education (ITRE) at North Carolina State University conducted the study in the northern Outer Banks region because of its existing high levels of bicycling activity and presence of an extensive system of special bicycle facilities. Researchers surveyed bicyclists riding on the bicycle facilities — paths and wide paved shoulders — and also obtained data from self-administered surveys of tourists at three visitors’ centers in the region.

Over the ten years prior to the study, an estimated $6.7 million of public funds was spent to construct off-road paths and add wide paved shoulders to roads in the region, from Corolla south to Nags Head and west to Manteo.  

Economic Impact Study Conclusions

  • Bicycling activity in the northern Outer Banks provides substantial economic benefits to the area — an estimated $60 million annually.
  • The bicycle facilities in the area are an important factor for many tourists in deciding to visit the region.
  • Three-fourths of study respondents indicated that more bicycle facilities should be built, and nine out of 10 surveyed believe state and federal tax dollars should be used to do it.
The full study can be found here:
The Pathways to Prosperity Brochure is a quick worthwhile read.


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