Roger Geller - Fantastic Presentation Now Available!
Roger Geller, bicycle coordinator for the City of Portland, Oregon, recently gave an inspired presentation to a standing-room only crowd at the Centre for Social Innovation.
Mr. Geller has overseen the tripling of cycling levels in Portland, which is now ranked in the top 10 cycling-friendly cities in the world.
Mr. Geller characterized the payoffs from cycling investment as a "cheap date." He quoted the Portland's head traffic engineer as saying cycling is the least expensive way to move the greatest number of people around the city. A few examples he cited of the savings (with thanks to Dianne Cox and Gabriel Durocher from Cycling Vision Ottawa for sharing their great notes!):
- From 1991 to 2008, vehicle traffic crossing the Hawthorne Bridge in central Portland increased by 20%. Yet the bridge is still serving traffic needs as well as it did in 1991 and expensive expansion has been avoided. How? Most of the traffic increase has been in bicycles! Car traffic over the bridge has increased in that period by just over 1%. The investment in 5 foot bicycle lanes on the bridge has resulted in very significant savings for the City.
- With higher cycling levels, Portland residents drive 4 fewer miles per person per day than the U.S. average. Mr. Geller's staff have estimated that this converts to about US$1.2 billion less spent on transportation per year with an estimated $800 million dollars of those savings spent in the local economy, not on externally supplied cars, parts and oil.
- Mr. Geller's staff calculated that the cost of building Portland's entire cycling network would be $60 million in today's dollars. For comparison, they calculated this amount would build just one single mile of inner city highway.
Conclusion: Cycling is cheap, even when a city invests in high quality infrastructure.
Mr. Geller's entire presentation is available for download here.