The benefits of increased cycling could be worth £248bn between now and 2050
The benefits of increased cycling could be worth £248bn between now and 2050

Research shows growth in cycling could be worth £¼ trillion

New research commissioned by CTC shows that cycling could provide economic benefits worth £248bn between now and 2050 if England meets the targets for increased cycle use as proposed in the parliamentary ‘Get Britain Cycling’ report.

The research – see summary leaflet – has been released as MPs prepare to debate calls for a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) to be included in the Infrastructure Bill. An amendment to the Bill has been tabled by a cross-party group of MPs, and is supported by a coalition of organisations including engineering institutions and health charities, as well as sustainable transport groups, including CTC. It will be debated on Monday 26th January 2015 (see p3 for text of amendment).

The All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group's 'Get Britain Cycling' (GBC) report called for targets to substantially boost cycle use, from less than 2% of trips at present to 10% by 2025 (less than German levels), and to 25% by 2050 (roughly Dutch levels).

With ambition, leadership and long term funding commitment between now and 2050, cycling could [be] worth £248bn.

Jon Snow, CTC President

The 'Economic Cycle' report, by Leeds University, compares the economic benefits of meeting these targets, compared with the much lower growth proposed in the Government's draft Cycling Delivery Plan (CDP), namely to double the number of trips made wholly or partly by cycle by 2025.

Researchers Fiona Crawford and Dr Robin Lovelace found that meeting the GBC report’s 2025 target in England would yield economic benefits that year worth £6.4bn in today’s money, whereas the Government’s CDP target would be worth just £2.1bn.  Meeting the 25% target in 2050 would be worth £42bn, compared with just £6.4bn if cycle use continues to grow at the rate proposed by the CDP.

Even after allowing for 'discounting' (which is how economists and the Treasury account for the lower value of long-term benefits compared with those earned more quickly), the cumulative benefits of the GBC's targets are worth £248bn, compared with £46.4bn under the CDP.

CTC President Jon Snow has urged supporters of cycling to contact their MPs to support the inclusion of a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy (CWIS) in the Infrastructure Bill, to complement the Roads Investment Strategy already proposed in the Bill. He said:

"Between now and 2050 cycling could bring economic benefits worth £248bn. That's the equivalent of 2.5 times the General Government's Net Borrowing in 2013-14 or 4.5 times health care spending in England at 2012-13 levels."

See also CTC's 'Cycling and the Economy' briefing for further evidence of cycling's economic benefits.

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Roger Geffen
'Economic Cycle' summary leaflet460.74 KB
'Economic Cycle' full report921.42 KB