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Traveling by car six times more expensive for society than by bicycle, study finds

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Copenhagen

It is six times more expensive for society – and for you individually – if you travel by car instead of cycling.

This has been shown in a Lund University study of Copenhagen, a city of cyclists. It is the first time a price has been put on car use as compared to cycling.

Stefan Gössling and Andy S. Choi conducted the study to determine whether the Copenhagen Municipality needs a new cycling infrastructure system. After looking at the vehicular cost on society with regards to congestion, health, road damage, noise, pollution, travel route, and climate change, the researchers found that cars have a much higher economic impact on society than bikes.

If the costs to society and the costs to private individuals are added together, the impact of the car is EUR 0.50 per kilometre and the impact of the bicycle is EUR 0.08 per kilometre.

The study by Stefan Gössling and his colleague also shows that if we only look at costs/benefits for society, one kilometre by car costs EUR 0.15, whereas society earns EUR 0.16 on every kilometre cycled.

“The cost-benefit analysis in Copenhagen shows that investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns”, says Stefan Gössling.