February 21, 2014

The Economics of Walking and Bicycling Facilities: Why We Need to Spend More Now

Time

1:40 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Location

1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village

Speaker(s)

John Lieswyn, Associate, Alta Planning + Design

Abstract

In a time of economic turmoil, the call for austerity is strong across the world. Walking and bicycling are seen by many people as “nice to have” but not engines of economic growth such as a wider highway or a airport terminal expansion. General roadway and transit system improvements are proposed and funded based on a positive cost effectiveness analysis – hard numbers which lend support to tough decisions on the use of scarce public funds. A central problem is that one cannot drive on a road that does not exist or take a bus that never comes, but walking and bicycling (“active travel”) are generally possible along any public right of way. There is ample evidence that only high quality facilities will encourage large numbers of people do so, but this is often only possible if the road space is reallocated from cars to active modes. This presentation will describe the current state of the art in predicting active travel demand (central to the question of benefits estimation), wider economic benefits, and the justification for expanded investment in these modes.

Biographical Sketch

John Lieswyn is an Associate with Alta Planning + Design, a leading walking and bicycling consultancy with over 20 offices across North America. John manages bicycle and pedestrian master plans, plans and designs bikeways, and undertakes all types of transportation research and traffic studies. John is a Institute of Transportation Engineers certified Professional Transportation Planner and holds a Masters in Transportation Engineering from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. His international transportation planning experience is augmented by having represented the USA and corporate sponsors in professional road bicycle races worldwide from 1992 to 2005. John now promotes everyday walking and bicycling as an integral part of vibrant communities.