Guidelines for Benefit-Cost Analysis of Bicycle Facilities: Refining Methods for Estimating the Effect of Bicycle Infrastructure on Use and Property Value

Available Documents
Quarterly Report December 2005
Quarterly Report March 2006
Quarterly Report June 2006
Quarterly Report September 2006
Quarterly Report December 2006
Quarterly Report March 2007
Final Report

Primary Investigator
Kevin J. Krizek, Director and Assistant Professor
Active Communities/Transportation (ACT) Research Group
Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota
301 19th Ave S.
Minneapolis, MN 55455
(612) 625 7318
(612) 625 3513

Project Objective
To optimize use of limited transportation funds, there is a critical need for reliable information on how to value facilities for an increasingly important mode of transportation: bicycling. Tools to value cycling facilities advance understanding of how investment and operations of such facilities can be optimized as well as how the infrastructure “assets” of these facilities are managed.

The research proposed herein aims to both refine and extend a valuable tool currently under development by the research team (see: We will also incorporate the tool as a teaching device into a graduate course the PI teaches at the University of Minnesota. The said tool includes guidelines to measure the benefits and costs of bicycle facilities and advance the following objectives, to: (a) compare investments in bicycling with other modes, (b) provide tools to advise the choices that will optimize investment of competing bicycle facilities, and (c) integrate cycling—and its benefits and costs—into the
transportation planning process and operations decisions.

Project Abstract
Three notable improvements to the above guidelines are necessary in order to refine and
improve many of the estimates of bicycling demand and economic benefits.

  1. First we will perform a longitudinal analysis of cycling commute rates and correlate any differences with distinct improvements to the cycling infrastructure. We will assemble 1990 and 2000 GIS maps for cycling infrastructure of the Twin Cities metropolitan region. We will compare any notable differences and attribute such differences to Census tracts. We will then examine rates of cycling as reported from short and long-forms of the U.S. census.
  2. Secondly, we will use primary data to administer a household survey in select neighborhoods across the Twin Cities region. Several questions from this survey will aim to capture cycling behavior, including its relationship to paths, bicycle lanes, or new infrastructure investments.
  3. A third refinement to the overall model is to analyze in detail the effect of various cycling infrastructure improvements on how property is valued. We plan to identify at least twenty relatively major cycling infrastructure improvements throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area that have been completed over the past ten years. The guidelines will then be incorporated into the lab portion of a course on land use-transportation the PI teaches at the University of Minnesota. The lab portion will ask students to value various planning scenarios that involved forms of non-motorized transportation.

Task Descriptions

  1. Collect 1990 and 2000 GIS data of bicycle infrastructure.
  2. Collect 1990 and 2000 census information on cycling rates,
  3. Analyze relationships between infrastructure and commute rates,
  4. Launch household survey,
  5. Collect data from survey,
  6. Interpret data from survey,
  7. Identify approximately cycling improvements,
  8. Collect property value data,
  9. Control for confounding explanations,
  10. Synthesize above three strategies and incorporate into web-based guidelines,
  11. Adjust web interface of guidelines,
  12. Prepare draft final report,
  13. Incorporate review comments.

Project Information

  • Milestones, Dates: 24months. Month 10: Finish analyzing data from survey; Month 15: Finish analyzing relationship to property value; Month 20: Finish incorporating above into web-based guidelines
  • Budget: Total request from MRUTC: $69,933, Matching Funds & %: Matching funds, totaling $100,918, are derived from 3 different sources, including:
    1. A portion of the PI’s nine-month salary at the University of Minnesota,
    2. Graduate student salary from aligned work being done by graduate assistants of two other projects funded by the:
    a. Minnesota Department of Transportation, and
    b. National Cooperative Highway Research Program.
  • Student Involvement: There is high student involvement in the form of research assistantships by students from either urban planning or civil engineering. In addition, the revised guidelines which will be created will be used in the laboratory portion of a graduate course taught by the instructor.
  • Modal Orientation: Bicycling
  • Project Number: 06-07