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Studies on economic impacts of bike trails

The bicycle routes economic impact and benefits from investing in them has been studied in several states and in foreign countries on already established bicycle trail systems. Here is a condensed version of the findings. Read individual reports for details.

$88 Million from non-resident tourists and customers; $57 million in retail sales; 721 jobs. June 2013 study An Economic Impact Study of Bicycling in Arizona: Out of State Bicycle Tourists and Exports PDF done by Arizona Department of Transportation on impacts from out-of-state cyclists traveling to Arizona for events, guided tours, races, and training camps.

European Union
European Parliament funded 2012 European Cyclists Federation's EuroVelo statistics showed $57 billion per year from the signed, numbered, mapped, promoted and supported by European continent governments. Second study Calculating the Economic Benefits of Cycling in EU-27 PDF in June 2013 estimated well above $265 billion per year or over $350 per person in the EU for everyday cycling and health benefits.

$32.556 million for Orange County Trails with 1.7 million people using the trails yearly. 2010-11 economic impact survey PDF on three Orange County Florida trails.

$30.40 per day mean trail user expenditure on 6 Illinois Trails. Done by Trails for Illinois study of economy, environment, and health impact PDF. 70% of trail users learned about trail through word of mouth or happenstance.

$1 million per day
The Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling in Iowa through RAGBRAI, the developing trail infrastructure, and city networks.

$363 million
1999 Bicycle Tourism in Maine: Economic Impacts and Marketing Recommendations PDF by Maine Department of Transportation summary in 2001.

Maryland and Pennsylvania Great Allegheny/C&O Canal Towpath. $98 per day spent by cyclists; $40.6 million in gross revenue in 2008 or 1/4 gross income of businesses along the trail. August 2009 The Great Allegheny Passage Economic Impact Study PDF by Campos Inc.

$427 Million from recreational cycling; 5,000 jobs and $1 billion revenue attributed to bicycling. 2009 Economic Impact of Recreational Trail Use PDF and 2008 analysis of Minnesota Road Biking PDF by The University of Minnesota Tourism Center via the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota.

$75 per day spent by cyclists from 48 states and 18 countries; stay an average of 8 or more nights. 2013 "Analysis of Touring Cyclists: Impacts, Needs and Opportunities for Montana" PDF by The Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research (ITRR) at the University of Montana’s School of Forestry query of cyclists visiting Adventure Cycling headquarters and purchasing Montana maps between 2010-2013.

New Jersey
$497 Million. Rutgers contracted by New Jersey DOT to explore the economic impact of active transportation, related infrastructure, businesses, and events on New Jersey economy.

North Carolina
$60 million; 1,407 jobs from Outer Banks
Bikeways to Prosperity: Assessing the Economic Impact of Bicycle Facilities (TR News 242 January-February 2006) by Judson J. Lawrie, Thomas P.Norman, Mary Meletiou, and Sarah W. O’Brien.

$400 Million
2012 The Economic Significance of Bicycle-Related Travel in Oregon, Detailed State and Travel Region Estimates by Bicycle Tourism in Oregon and Travel Oregon.

$134 million on La Route Verte; $38 million in government revenues; 2,861 jobs. 2006. Retombées économiques de la Route Verte. (March 2003. Read summary.)

$83 million; 1,400 jobs; $41 million in wages; health and property value benefits increase that by over $400 million. 2009 Resource Systems Group and Local Motion report "Economic Impact of Bicycling and Walking in Vermont".

$1.9 billion; 13,193 full-time jobs; $924 million to tourism and recreation; $410 million for health; $533 million from out-of-state visitors. January 2010 study Valuing Bicycling’s Economic and Health Impacts in Wisconsin PDFdone by The Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Download the webinar recording on "Making the Case for Trails in Tight Economic Times." from American Trails for $55 for nonmembers.

For another view, read "an analysis critical of the purported economic benefits of the Kansas rail trail by a trail opponent who believes economic impacts cited in other studies are exaggerated" entitled "Does the Prairie Spirit Rail-Trail have economic benefits?" by Tracy Presnell.

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