Friday, January 6, 2012

I'm no economist but...

I can share a study that some real economists published!

In the most recent Environmental Health Perspectives, some folks from University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Iowa, and Georgia Institute of Technology estimated that $8 billion/year could be saved by making 50% of short trips by bicycle. In their analysis, they evaluated 11 of the largest mid-western urban areas. These cost savings would be seen through improved air quality and physical fitness (i.e., reduced health care costs).

Since most car commutes are just shorts trips, riding a bike for half of those trips could have a big impact.

(In case you needed some extra motivation to jump on a bike this winter!)

Grabow M.L., S.N. Spak, T. Halloway, B. Stone, A.C. Mednick, and J.A. Patz. 2011. Air quality and exercise-related health benefits from reduced car travel in the Midwestern United States. Environmental Health Perspectives 120:68-76.


  1. I'm not good about biking in the winter. Too cold and not safe in the dark for most of my commutes.

  2. I like the thought but try getting most people in Detroit to use anything but a car? I'd be happy if we could just have mass transit.

  3. Of course, the problem where I live is having transportation systems (ie roads) that can support cyclists.

  4. Jamoosh has a point. Without getting into too much detail, my "day job" involves transportation issues. While many cities are trying to improve their roads to be friendlier to cyclists (hello Portland!!!), there's a long way left to go. (And re-educating drivers is a whole problem of its own.)

    In short - I think "active transportation" is GREAT (and I am a walk- or tele-commuter 90% of the time). I just wish there were more funds to make it safer/more convenient/more accessible!