Investing in active transport has a clear positive business case

The Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Transport published a discussion paper in 2012, laying out the business case for investment in active transport (LinkPDF).

The economic analysis is summarised in Section 1.1 and detailed in Chapter 3:

Figure 3.1 summarises the factors:

Overall, infrastructure for walking and cycling is both beneficial and inexpensive, compare with other modes of transport:

UK Government

The UK Government Department of Health published an economic assessment of investment in walking and cycling:

This review assesses the evidence base from both peer reviewed and grey literature both in the UK and beyond. Almost all of the studies identified report economic benefits of walking and cycling interventions which are highly significant. The median result for all data identified is 13:1 and for UK data alone the median figure is higher, at 19:1.

Value for money: an economic assessment of investment in walking and cycling

Transport for London

Transport for London has published a summary pack of the economic benefits of walking and cycling:

Image credit: Transport for London

Including how walking and cycling benefits shopping streets:

Image credit: Transport for London

Price Waterhouse Coopers

Price Waterhouse Coopers prepared a report for the City of Melbourne (link, PDF) showing that every dollar invested in a bicycle infrastructure project returns between $1.30 and $14.

Image credit: City of Melbourne


ARUP prepared a report for Victoria Walks showing that the Victorian state government can boost the economy by investing in walking infrastructure.

If 50% of short private vehicle trips (0-0.9 km) were converted to walking, there would be 2.4 million more walking trips providing approximately $3.2 million (inflation adjusted) in savings to the Victorian economy each week.

The economic case for investment in walking, ARUP and Victoria Walks
Image credit: Victoria Walks

The Conversation

Every kilometre walked or cycled has an economic benefit by reducing traffic congestion and vehicle operating costs, improving health and the environment, and saving on infrastructure spending. It’s estimated every dollar invested in cycling infrastructure may reap up to five dollars’ worth of benefits.

Matthew Mclaughlin and Trevor Shilton, writing in The Conversation
Image credit: Shutterstock, via The Conversation

Copenhagenize Design Co.

Consultants the Copenhagenize Design Co. have summarised the business case in the following graphic – every km driven costs taxpayers 80 cents, while every km cycled saves taxpayers 73 cents.

New Zealand

Investing in active transport delivers 10x more benefit than cost:

How you can help

You can help by appearing on the Streets Alive Yarra website as a champion for your local street, neighbourhood, or school.

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