Utah Active Transportation Benefits Study

Utah Cyclist on Trail

Utah Active Transportation Benefits Study

What economic impacts would result from Utah building active transportation infrastructure to support cycling and walking?

With this study, we helped Utah Transit Authority answer that question for each county statewide, providing a resource to inform future infrastructure investments and activities. We led economic analysis for the Urban Design 4 Life team, beginning in late 2015.

The resulting study identifies the magnitude of annual economic impacts that would be associated with each mile of riding per person. Impacts were estimated for each county around the state, revealing that some counties have well-established industries that support cycling activities. (Utah is home to five national parks, after all.)

Direct impacts such as construction jobs account for easily calculated gains, but our analysis quantified indirect impacts as well — such as the cycle-oriented tourism, and dollars spent on cycling-related equipment.

And using health data from each county, we analyzed the long-term economic impacts of a more-active population. We tracked two dimensions of health-care impacts. One was medical care cost savings and the shifting of those dollars to other kinds of expenditures. The other was the corresponding impact of healthier employees. They would take fewer sick days, on average, and enjoy greater productivity. As residents started cycling for transportation, employers could forecast a better bottom line.

“There are multiple dimensions to the value created by active transportation. The right investments could lead to significant savings for people in Utah.“

— Chris Behr, Senior Economist

Utah Cyclist on Trail
Utah Transit Authority

United States