Advocates

Advocating for healthy communities requires evidence-based recommendations to inform decision-makers and the general public. As an advocate, research can help you build your case, highlight success stories and give credibility to your cause. It is a powerful tool. Active Living Research has a wide variety of evidence demonstrating how environments and policies can help everyone be active.

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Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities: Cases from Cities in the Portland, OR Region

Funding Source: 
Active Living Research
Date: 
06/28/2013
Description: 

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.

Authors: 
Lynn Weigand, Nathan McNeil, & Jennifer Dill
Organization: 
Portland State University
Location by State: 
Study Type: 

Cost Analysis for Improving Park Facilities to Promote Park-based Physical Activity

Date: 
12/16/2015
Description: 

Floyd, M.F., Suau, L.J., Layton, R., Maddock, J.E., & Bitsura-Meszaros, K. (2015). Cost Analysis for Improving Park Facilities to Promote Park-based Physical Activity. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina State University, NC Cooperative Extension Resources.

Abstract: 

Because public parks are widely available in communities across the country, parks are recognized as important environments for promoting active lifestyles. A growing number of studies suggest that parks contribute significantly to physical activity among adults and children. Research conducted in parks demonstrates that particular areas within parks produce more activity than others. Results from these kinds of studies have inspired researchers to more closely examine the potential of parks to promote physical activity. These examinations use intervention studies and natural experiments. In these studies, researchers are able to obtain baseline measures on park use and activity in a park before an improvement occurs and compare the measures to data obtained following the improvement. Such comparisons evaluate the extent to which park facilities encourage increased use and activity levels. Studies of this kind show promising results. In general, parks are used more often and users are more active following improvements or renovations.

Translating this research evidence to on-the-ground planning and construction inevitably shifts the discussion to financial considerations. What are the financial costs of adding or maintaining new facilities that could increase use and activity? What are the life span costs relative to increased use and additional physical activity? Answers to such questions can provide objective information to park officials, policymakers, and citizens to help them make more informed decisions about park facilities construction to promote active lifestyles. Park and recreation agencies at all levels of government are challenged now more than ever to provide high quality services in a fiscally conservative environment. As public parks and recreation facilities are increasingly positioned as health resources, greater demands for providing and using parks are expected. Park improvement projects with the stated purpose of encouraging activity need to be supported by data on the financial costs associated with making such improvements.

The goal of this analysis is to provide realistic and objective estimates of costs of providing park facilities that can increase physical activity.

This report was funded by Active Living Research through a Commissioned Analysis Report.

Authors: 
Myron F. Floyd, Luis J. Suau, Robby Layton, Jay E. Maddock, & Karly Bitsura-Meszaros
Organization: 
North Carolina State University
Study Type: 
Location by State: 

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