Weigand, L., McNeil, N., Dill, J. (2013). Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities: Cases from Cities in the Portland, OR Region. Portland, OR: Portland State University.
As communities nationwide are faced with declining transportation revenues and increased demand, bicycle facilities can offer a way to increase the capacity of the existing infrastructure at a lower cost than traditional road projects. Bicycling instead of driving for shorter distances can help reduce traffic congestion by getting cars off the roadway, while promoting physical activity and better health for the individual. However, this potential can be overlooked as local officials are often unaware of the need to enhance the bicycle network to increase ridership, along with the relatively low cost to improve and expand the network. This study was undertaken to provide policy-makers with objective information on the true costs of bicycle facilities; to give transportation planners and engineers cost data to develop realistic plans and cost estimates; and, to help active transportation advocates make the case to the public and to elected officials for the economic benefits of bicycle facilities and cost savings over other infrastructure.
This study documented the costs associated with installing various bicycle facilities on existing streets, along with descriptions and photos of each facility type. For each type of bicycle facility there are a range of possible costs, determined in part on whether the change is a simple intervention or more complex redesign, and what level of planning or engineering the physical and political context require. In general, it was found that costs associated with design and construct of bicycle infrastructure improvements are relatively low when compared to similar lengths of roadway projects. For example, the City of Portland calculated that the city’s entire bicycle network, consisting of over 300 miles of bikeways would cost $60 million to replace (2008 dollars), whereas the same investment would yield just one mile of a four-lane urban freeway. In addition, bicycle facilities can often be combined with other roadway improvements to take advantage of economies of scale. For example, bicycle lanes can often be added to streets as part of planned maintenance or re-striping projects at a cost of $1 -5 per foot (excluding right of way acquisition and engineering costs). Bicycle boulevards, which are through-routes on streets with low traffic volumes and speeds, typically include a range of improvements to calm traffic and improve conditions for cycling. Depending on the context and magnitude of the project, bicycle boulevards generally cost between $9.50 and $27.20 per foot.
This report was funded by Active Living Research through a Commissioned Analysis Award.