How Boosting Biking Could Improve London's Economy

A new study outlines the potential economic, environmental, and public health benefits of increasing cycling mode share in London, which has pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2030.

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December 7, 2021, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

London Bikes

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According to a report from Transport for the Quality of Life, tripling bicycle mode share in London would "save lives, create jobs and result in an annual economic dividend of $6.5 billion," in addition to environmental benefits and traffic reduction, writes Carlton Reid.

A TfL analysis from 2016 suggested that 3.1 million daily car driver trips and 1.6 million car passenger trips in London could be switched to cycling or walking. More than half of these trips are less than 3 kilometers in length, and it is often far quicker to cycle than to drive in Central London where motoring speeds have barely increased since the days of the horse and cart.

The city has pledged to reach net-zero emissions by 2030, and boosting bicycling could help achieve that goal and create economic benefits. "Investment in cycleways was one of the best ways of creating jobs through infrastructure spend, more than any other infrastructure project aside from energy efficiency in buildings, reported the TUC’s 2020 study." But without additional funding, London's transportation system will have to make service cuts and end investment in active travel projects, says another report prepared for Transport for London's finance committee.

The report estimates that with robust government support and investment in infrastructure, cycling mode share could grow from 2 percent to 14 percent of trips by 2030. 

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