Cycling infrastructure in places like Utrecht,...

Study: Cycling can reduce transportation CO2 by 10%

A new study shows that global commitment to transportation cycling can save cities $25 trillion and reduce CO2 emissions significantly.

Data from a new study, published Thursday by University of California (UCD), Davis, indicates that an increase in transportation cycling could save cities $25 trillion and reduce transportation-related CO2 emissions 10 percent by 2050. The report was commissioned by the UCI, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA).

“This is the first report that quantifies the potential CO2 and cost savings associated with a world-wide shift toward much greater use of cycling in urban areas,” said report co-author Lew Fulton, co-director of the STEPS Program within the Institute of Transportation Studies at the UCD. “The estimated impacts surprised me because they are so large. The costs saved in lower energy use and reducing the need for car travel, new roads, and parking lots through 2050 are substantial.”

According to the study, a combination of investments and public policies could bring the global average of bike and e-bike use up 14 percent by 2050 (of urban kilometers). Savings of around $25 trillion could be achieved by reducing the need for new car-related infrastructure and maintenance.

“This is an excellent study; worthy to be used worldwide for getting cycling in all policies across the globe at all levels, from local to international. We need to unlock the potential,” said Dr. Bernhard Ensink, secretary-general of the ECF.

“Cycling is a crucial means of transport for millions of people around the world,” said Brian Cookson, president of the UCI. “This report demonstrates that, if more governments followed good examples like the Netherlands or Denmark to make their cities better for cycling, we’d see huge benefits from lower carbon emissions, hugely reduced costs in transport infrastructure, and potentially safer, healthier places.”

Jacob Mason, co-author of the study, added that developing countries like India and China have an opportunity to shape nascent infrastructure to better accommodate bikes. “Building cities for cycling will not only lead to cleaner air and safer streets — it will save people and governments a substantial amount of money, which can be spent on other things,” he said, “That’s smart urban policy.”

Read the executive summary >>

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