Environmental reporter Josephine Marcotty writes about our place in nature through her coverage of the outdoors, wildlife, pollution and sustainability.

The financial efficiencies of biking (and walking)

Posted by: Josephine Marcotty Updated: May 4, 2012 - 3:42 PM

Investing in bike and walking trails certainly increases the number of people who bike or walk, but is it financially efficient? That's one question that came up today after the story today on what happened after Minneapolis and the surrounding communities spent $25 million in federal funding on biking and walking infrastructure.

The short answer is yes. 5.4 percent of the money spent on transportation in the Twin Cities since 2005 pays for the 10 percent of the population that walks or bikes to work. (And 11 percent of the fatalities.)

The story published Friday describes the report the U.S. Department of Transportation sent to Congress on the outcomes of the $100 million pilot projects in four communities. The report had a lot to say about polllution and health and the increase in biking and walking. But it did not include an analyis of whether the investment made financial sense.

I asked Bike Walk Twin Cities  (BWTC) to crunch those numbrs, and this is what it came up with.  Since 2005 and 2011 the  transportation funding in the Twin Cities devoted to biking and walking totaled 5.4 percent of the total. (See the first chart below. )Those numbers came from Federal Highway Administration database (called FMIS).  I was especially struck by how much we spend on transportation -- $1.6 billion since 2005, and that's just The Twin Cities. Ouch. 

Then they used census data to come up with an estimates on commuters.(See the other charts below). In 2010, According to the census, 10 percent of the people in Minneapolis and 6 percent of the people in St. Paul either biked or walked to work on a regular basis. So 5.4 percent of the money pays for 10 percent of the commutes.It's not the whole picture, but it's telling.

In the report to Congress, Bike Walk Twin Cities estimated that the number of bikers in the Twin Cities increase 52 percent since the pilot project began. They based on that on annual surveys they do every year at 42 different locations, so they don't  have  a single baseline number -- they have 42. But the census data shows the same trend -- in Minneapolis bikers increased by 44 percent. 

So if you like transportation numbers, have at it.

  

Federal Transportation Spending in Minneapolis area (between 8/1/05 and 10/1/11)

 

Amount

Percent

Total Federal Transportation Spending

$1,627,433,356.44

 

Total BWTC (One time Federal Pilot Project Grant)

$21,141,305.44

1.3%

Total Spent on Bicycle/Pedestrian Projects

$65,955,796.88

4.1%

Total Bike/Ped without BWTC

$44,814,491.44

2.8%

 Source:  Federal Highway Administration FMIS database

 

 

 

 

American Community Survey (ACS) Commute to work by mode in Minneapolis and Saint Paul 
 
             

 

Total change 2005 to 2010

   
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  % Increase/Decrease % Increase/Decrease    
Car, truck or van -9.3% -3.0%    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 21.4% 2.6%    
Walk 15.5% 42.2%    
Bicycle 44.6% 32.5%    
Bicycling & Walking Combined 24.0% 40.6%    
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 12.6% 16.9%    
Worked at home 80.7% 7.5%    

 


 

2010

Change over previous year
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 68.2%   79.2%      
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 15.2%   8.7%   MPLS STP
Walk 6.7%   5.0%   4.7% -2.4%
Bicycle 3.5%   0.9%   -11.0% -28.6%
Bicycling & Walking Combined 10.2% 5.9% -1.3% -7.8%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 1.2%   0.9%      
Worked at home 5.2%   5.3%      

 

2009

 
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 71.0% 1.9 79.4% 2.2    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 13.1% 1.5 8.9% 1.2 MPLS STP
Walk 6.4% 1.1 5.1% 1.4 4.9% 4.1%
Bicycle 3.9% 0.7 1.3% 0.5 -9.3% 8.3%
Bicycling & Walking Combined 10.3% 6.4% -1.0% 4.9%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 1.1% 0.3 0.7% 0.5    
Worked at home 4.5% 0.7 4.6% 1.1    

 

2008

   
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 69.7% 1.8 79.4% 1.9    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 14.4% 1.2 10.2% 1.3 MPLS STP
Walk 6.1% 0.8 4.9% 1 -4.7% 40.0%
Bicycle 4.3% 0.7 1.2% 0.4 13.2% -14.3%
Bicycling & Walking Combined 10.4% 6.1% 2.0% 24.5%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 0.5% 0.2 0.6% 0.3    
Worked at home 5.1% 0.8 3.7% 0.8    

 

2007

   
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 71.0% 1.7 80.3% 1.6    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 13.4% 1.4 9.6% 1.4 MPLS STP
Walk 6.4% 0.7 3.5% 0.7 -9.9% -14.6%
Bicycle 3.8% 0.8 1.4% 0.5 52.0% 40.0%
Bicycling & Walking Combined 10.2% 4.9% 6.3% -3.9%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 0.5% 0.2 1.1% 0.5    
Worked at home 4.8% 0.7 4.1% 0.7    

 

2006

   
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 71.9% 1.8 80.7% 1.9    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 13.2% 1.3 8.2% 1.3 MPLS STP
Walk 7.1% 1 4.1% 1 22.4% 17.1%
Bicycle 2.5% 0.5 1.0% 0.4 4.2% 42.9%
Bicycling & Walking Combined 9.6% 5.1% 17.1% 21.4%
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 0.9% 0.4 0.9% 0.4    
Worked at home 4.5% 0.8 5.1% 0.8    

 

2005

   
Means of Transportation to work Minneapolis, MN Saint Paul, MN    
  Total Margin of error (+/-) Total Margin of error (+/-)    
Car, truck or van 75.2% 1.8 81.6% 2.5    
Public transportation (excluding taxicab) 12.5% 1.5 8.5% 1.4    
Walk 5.8% 1.1 3.5% 1    
Bicycle 2.4% 0.5 0.7% 0.3    
Bicycling & Walking Combined 8.2% 4.2%    
Taxicab, motorcycle, or other means 1.1% 0.3 0.8% 0.4    
Worked at home 2.9% 0.5 4.9% 1    

 

 

 

 

 

  • 4
  • Comments

ADVERTISEMENT

Post By Category

Bears (3) Vikings draft (2)

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT