It was announced today that Greater Manchester’s vision for cycling, Vélocity 2025, will be supported by £20m from central government. Hopefully the seedcorn for lots more investment.
The excellent (and well designed) Velocity advocacy document contains lots of good evidence, much of it applicable beyond Manchester. What follows are extracts of my favourite bits, with links to referenced documents where I can find them:
“Our vision is of a city fit for the future: a healthy, safe, sustainable city that people want to live and work in.
To do this, we will deliver a sustained and strategic programme of investment in cycling, from both the public and private sectors, that within a generation will deliver a cycling culture and infrastructure across Greater Manchester that will make cycling a mainstream, everyday and aspirational form of transport for all, regardless of their age or ability.
“A great city has to be a safe city for cyclists, it’s as simple as that.” Chris Boardman
The great bicycle economy
Our tally of positive economic outcomes through this proposed programme of investment includes: direct employment through infrastructure development; improved connectivity to employment and training; reduced congestion costs; tourism and leisure benefits; better health of employees; and secondary employment in the supply chain for the cycling economy.
A significant bank of evidence has been amassed showing the economic benefits of increased cycling. Sky, British Cycling and the London School of Economics (LSE) recently estimated the current ‘Gross National Cycling Product’ at £2.9 billion per year.
Even a small number of additional cyclists will pay for investment in new cycling infrastructure. One model developed by Cycling England suggests that an investment of £10,000 requires one additional regular cyclist to pay for itself. Calculations of value include: Improvements in general health and fitness, reduced pollution and theemission of CO2, and reductions in congestion.
In New Zealand researchers have examined the economic benefit of cycling purely through reduced mortality from factors such as heart disease and found that the benefit to society was up to £1.50 per km cycled or up to £1,300
annually per cyclist.
Cycling creates jobs, whilst easing the societal costs of car-based travel. A recent study from the United States showed that dollar-for-dollar cycling infrastructure creates more jobs than road building, with pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure projects creating 15-20 jobs per £1 million of spending while road infrastructure projects create approximately 10 jobs per £1 million of expenditure.
The road to well being
In some of our partner cities across Europe, older people are cycling every day, because they’ve done it all their lives, and they are staying healthier as a result; we want to reach that level of inter-generational equity through our Vélocity 2025 plan. The critical path we want to pursue is mainstreaming cycling for all.
Cycling and active travel is a critical tool to achieve better health outcomes for a population like ours. We know, for example, that cyclists take one day less a year off work with illness, and that regular cycling can become a central part of reducing the costs of obesity treatment; we also know that commuter surveys reveal cyclists as the ‘happiest’ in their chosen mode of transport.
Another aspect of our bid – 20 mph zones in and around our network of ‘spokes’ – also has positive health outcomes through greater road safety, better air quality and in making our residential areas feel safer for those who are keen to take up cycling or walking.
Under this bid we will deliver a carefully-chosen and well designed series of ‘spokes’ leading to the central ‘hub’ of the regional centre. Each of these spokes will feature 20 mph default speed limits in and around them to deliver a safer cycling experience, from door to door.
Our business case is robust, with a package BCR of over 7:1, clearly demonstrates very high value for money and a strong economic case for cycling.
Most importantly we have a long term commitment to the Vélocity vision, with a continuing, planned, forward investment programme of around £10 million a year.
We will make our cycle city – our Vélocity – come to life!”