The Dollars and Cents of Driving and Cycling: Calculating the Full Costs of Transportation in Calgary, Canada
Many cities across the globe are working to facilitate cycling as a sustainable transportation mode through changes to public policy and investments in infrastructure. Examining the costs and benefits of both driving and cycling using the cost benefit analysis (CBA) framework developed in Copenhagen provides an opportunity to identify private and social costs associated with these modes of transport with respect to environmental, social, and economic impacts. This paper outlines the methods used to calculate the per-kilometre costs of driving and cycling in Calgary, Canada, utilizing real-world data and methods from Canadian and global best-practice with the Copenhagen CBA framework as a guide. Transportation costs were calculated for travel time, vehicle ownership, health, collisions, air pollution, climate change, noise, roadway degradation, congestion, and winter maintenance for both driving and cycling. When the costs borne by both individuals and society are calculated for Calgary (in 2015 Canadian dollars) driving costs $0.83 per kilometre and cycling costs $0.08 per kilometre. When the social costs of transport are isolated, the cost of driving one kilometre is $0.10, while cycling one kilometre generates a net social benefit of $0.35. The results of this research show that the Copenhagen CBA framework can be applied in jurisdictions outside Denmark to calculate environmental, social, and economic costs of driving and cycling.
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