As part of Norway’s ongoing European Mobility Week celebrations, around 10,000 NOK (€1,200) was handed out in the town of Lillestrøm to pedestrians and cyclists in “reverse toll money”. The money symbolised the health benefits of walking and cycling, including better fitness, improved air quality and more efficient transport.
Cyclists received around €12, while pedestrians gained €11. Calculations carried out by the Norwegian Directorate of Health shows that active transport provides the state with a saving of 52 NOK (€6) per kilometer for pedestrians and 26 NOK (€3) per kilometer for cyclists. An average bike trip in Norway is 4 kilometers, providing a health benefit of 100 NOK (€12), while an average walking trip is 1.7 km, worth almost 90 NOK (€11)
The only thing I have to say about this is . . . EXCELLENT!
This is not a light-weight, happy go lucky, feel-good idea. It is world class economics. Full cost pricing: All you have to do is run the numbers and you can see where it is best to spend the taxpayer money.
Let’s look at a contrasting example. Today in many cities around the world parking is supplied for work commuters at either no or well less than market prices. This functions not only as an asymmetrical incentive to encourage car use (for trips in which there may be perfectly good alternatives) but also is often fully or in good part tax-deductible. In other words, we are in such cases using the taxpayers hard-earned money for provide incentives for yet more car travel. And those are often quite big numbers.
Why do we have to make things so often so complicated for ourselves?
Now all we ask of Lillestrøm is that they have a good look at the numbers with the concerned national administrations, and consider turning this into a permanent policy. Go Lillestrøm!
* Note: Lillestrøm, a city of 15,000, by the way, has 7 cycle routes with a total length of 747 km.
* Make sure you also check out Paying people to cycle to work? –
France has started a six-month experiment with paying people to cycle to work, joining other European governments in trying to boost bicycle use to boost people’s health, reduce air pollution and cut fossil fuel consumption.Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometer and financial support for buying bicycles.
In France, some 20 companies and institutions employing a total of 10,000 people have signed up to pay their staff 25 euro cents (34 U.S. cents) per kilometer biked to work
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About the Norwegian Environment Agency
The Norwegian government and the Storting (the Norwegian Parliament) determine the ambitions of our environmental policy. The Norwegian Environment Agency’s primary tasks is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, manage Norwegian nature and prevent pollution. Play a key role in shaping Norwegian environmental policy.
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About the editor:
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Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is a public entrepreneur specializing in the field of sustainability and social justice. Professor of Sustainable Development, Economy and Democracy at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion (Paris), he is also MD of EcoPlan Association, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. Founding editor of World Streets, his latest work focuses on the subject of equity, economy and efficiency in city transport and public space, and helping governments to ask the right questions and in the process, find practical solutions to urgent climate, mobility, life quality and job creation issues. Currently working on an open collaborative project, “BETTER CHOICES: Bringing Sustainable Transportation to Smaller Asian Cities” . More at: http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7 * This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 licence.