Deakin University Senior Lecturer Jan Garrard has written an interesting article in “The Conversation” in the wake of the cut funding for cycling in Victoria.
A recent review of 16 economic valuations of transport infrastructure or policies reported a median benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of five for walking and cycling projects (that is, you get five dollars in benefits for every dollar spent)
Cycling is usually a faster mode of transport than car travel for trips up to about 5km in urban areas. For longer trips the travel time differences are small. In the morning peak (7.30 to 9.00 am) in Melbourne, average travel speeds in 2009/10 were 22.2km/h on inner Melbourne (approximately 10 km radius from CBD) undivided arterial roads, and 20.2km/h on arterial roads with trams.
The Netherlands recognised several decades ago that for the multiple short-to-medium distance trips that characterise daily living, the most efficient vehicle is the bicycle. This is also feasible for Australia, where about 50% of household trips in urban areas are less than 5km.
Despite already having excellent cycling infrastructure, the Netherlands continues to invest about $25 per head per annum in cycling infrastructure.
Sitting in a car is the ultimate in sedentary behaviour; and the longer we sit, the fatter we get. Cycling, on the other hand, is an excellent way to get the recommended daily dose of 30 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Physical activity is one of the best buys in public health, and active transport like walking or cycling is one of the best buys in physical activity.