And hot on the heels of the federal budget was the release of a report on the feasibility of cycling in Australia. The report which was written by AECOM found that an inner city regional bicycle network would deliver at least $506 million – or $3.88 for every dollar spent – in net economic benefits over 30 years, and would reduce Sydney’s traffic congestion by 4.3 million car trips a year.
The study forecasts a 66 % increase in bike trips by 2016 and a 71% rise by 2026 if the 284km network – spanning 15 council areas, 164 suburbs and a population of 1.2 million people – is built at a cost of $179 million. The proposed project is in addition to the City’s current $76 million works program to build 200km of cycleways in the City Centre and inner city villages by 2017.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore MP today welcomed the study, saying: “The study is the first of its kind to comprehensively capture the economic benefits of major cycling infrastructure. For the first time we have an evidencebased report that puts a real value on the health and lifestyle benefits of cycling. We’re talking about people living longer, having less chronic diseases and having a better quality of life – just by getting on a bike.”
The AECOM research estimated the following additional benefits from the development of the Inner City Regional Bicycle Network will
- Generate more than 7 million bicycle trips a year by 2016
- Cut car use by 4.3 million trips a year by 2016
- Relieve traffic congestion, making essential car travel easier
- Alleviate health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure and heart disease
- Promote worker productivity through reduced absenteeism
- Increase ‘journey ambience’ for cyclists
- Bring environmental improvements such as reduced greenhouse gas emissions as well as improved air quality and lower noise pollution
- Generate savings in government transport infrastructure building and operating costs