Bicycle caravan at the opening of the bicycle highway Antwerp-Mechelen 13/6/2015 | Copyright: Province of Antwerp

An investment of 1 euro in the bicycle highways brings in 2 to 14 euro of health benefits. That is what the researchers of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) calculated.

The investments of the province of Antwerp in providing the construction of bicycle highways will bring in around half a billion euro of health profits after a period of 20 years. “Every euro that we invest in the construction of a route for the bicycle highways will pay off abundantly in health benefits,” says Luk Lemmens, deputy of mobility. “By creating the bicycle highways, it now seems that we not only resolve traffic problems. It also brings in a tremendous health benefit. We are even talking about at least twice the investment cost.”

Last year, as part of a large European study (PASTA), Luc Int Panis and Jurgen Buekers of the Flemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO) investigated the impact of walking, cycling, driving or the use of public transport on our health. The result is a model that objectively evaluates investments in infrastructure works. It calculates how much investments in cycling infrastructure save in health costs. This means that for investments made by the Province of Antwerp, every euro that is invested in the construction of the bicycle highways brings in at least 2 euros of health benefits. The investments in bicycle highways will pay off twice the amount in health benefits.

Luc Int Panis: "Thanks to this study we can definitely recommend all policy makers to invest more in the development of cycling infrastructure and bicycle highways in particular. Our calculations show that the investments will double in health benefits, even with limited number of users."

Jurgen Buekers: “Our model (CWICalc) goes further than the model of the World Health Organisation and was specifically designed for Flanders. Local governments are now able to use the model online.”

The construction of bicycle highways

The province of Antwerp invests significantly in the creation of bicycle highways. “Last year we finished the bicycle highway Antwerp-Mechelen,” confirms Luk Lemmens, deputy of Mobility Province of Antwerp. “In the years to come we will be creating the following bicycle highways: Antwerp-Lier, Herentals-Balen, Mechelen-Brussels and the missing links on the bicycle highway Antwerp-Essen. When municipalities lay parts of the other bicycle highways, they will be subsidised 100 %.” Bicycle highways have a supra-local nature. They create a smooth, safe and comfortable cycling route between large cities. The local bicycle tracks that cross the bicycle highways provide links to industrial centres, schools and town centres.

For more information, please visit: www.antwerpenfietsprovincie.be

Scientific paper
Cycling and Walking Impact Calculator


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Luc Int Panis
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