Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy By Elly Blue


Planning often prioritizes transportation projects based on quantified costs and benefits to the community. Recognizing decision-making standard, in Bikenomics Elly Blue delivers a pro-bike argument with which planners and bicycle activists might be familiar, but she supports this argument with facts and figures that will make city comptrollers take notice. A Portlandbased
writer and bicycle advocate, Elly Blue backs her claims with research that spans popular blog writing, advocacy organization reports, and academic articles in a way that informs, engages, and entertains. She invites an understanding that individuals, businesses, and cities all benefit from more and safer bicycling in their communities.

Bikenomics is largely organized around common refrains about the impossibility of making bicycling a coequal mode in the US transportation system. In the first few chapters, Blue tackles the high cost of automobiles and car ownership relative to the bicycle. Costs are borne, Blue argues, not only by individuals who must spend a high proportion of their income on transportation, but by all taxpayers who must pay the long-term debt incurred by borrowing to build roads. On the other hand, investment in bicycle infrastructure costs a fraction to build and maintain and, as argued later, bring local economic benefits that a new highway interchange cannot.

About the Author

Jesus Barajas is a PhD candidate in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.