Webinar: Economic Impacts from Bicycle and Pedestrian Street Improvements

Tuesday, April 25, 2017, 10:00am to 11:00am PDT
Jenny Liu, Portland State University

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Webinar: Economic Impacts from Bicycle and Pedestrian Street Improvements

As many cities are investing in street improvements to provide better biking and walking experiences, the economic value and impacts of these active transportation facilities remain areas where many practitioners, planners and policy makers are seeking more conclusive evidence. With various modes competing for scarce resources, planners and transportation agencies often struggle with how to justify infrastructure investments for non-motorized modes, particularly when driving is still the predominant mode of transportation in most cities. 

In this project we assess property value impacts of Portland’s “Green Loop” signature bike infrastructure concept, illustrating the importance of considering both accessibility and extensiveness of bike facility networks. The Green Loop is a proposed 6-mile linear open space running through the heart of Portland, connecting existing and new open spaces, parks, gathering areas, and walking and biking pathways. As envisioned, the Green Loop concept requires significant infrastructure investments, and would result in both short-term and long-term impacts on transportation (for all travel modes), economic development and the environment.

In collaboration with the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (BPS), the Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions (ISS), and in partnership with PeopleForBikes and the Summit Foundation, the goal of this research is to characterize, quantify and analyze these costs, benefits and impacts, particularly focusing on case studies of similar infrastructure investments in active transportation.

In this webinar, we will further focus on the residential property value impacts associated with advanced bike facilities. We find that proximity to advanced bike facilities has significant and positive effects on all property values, highlighting household preferences for high quality bike infrastructure. The lessons and research gaps identified in this work led to the development of two ongoing NITC-funded studies: "Understanding Economic and Business Impacts of Street Improvements for Bicycle and Pedestrian Mobility - A Multi-City Multi-Approach Exploration" and "Understanding the economic impacts of urban greenway infrastructure." We will share some updates on these ongoing projects as well.

Key learning outcomes include:

  • A framework for understanding the economic results of bicycle and pedestrian investments, with data to show:
    • Evidence of impacts on residential property values
    • Evidence of impacts on on business and retail activity
  • Insight into potential short-term and long-term impacts of the Portland Green Loop
  • A method for estimating economic impacts of similar proposed active transportation projects

Jenny H. Liu, Ph.D. is an assistant professor at the Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning and Assistant Director of the Northwest Economic Research Center (NERC) at Portland State University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley. Dr. Liu is an environmental and transportation economist with a focus on public policy, urban issues and social equity. She has conducted research on an Oregon state-level carbon tax, the Oregon electric vehicle industry, household residential location decisions and its effects on travel behavior, economic development impacts of transit oriented developments across the country, economic impacts of deconstruction versus demolitions and property value effects of the Oregon property tax system. In addition, Dr. Liu has worked on developing social media performance measures for public transit, and constructing a transportation cost index that can measure multimodal transportation performance on a regional scale. Following up on her research on understanding the economic impacts of bike/pedestrian infrastructure such as the Portland Green Loop, she is currently working on research that examines the business impacts of street improvements for bicycle and pedestrian mobility across numerous cities using a variety of data sources and analytical approaches, and research to understand how to characterize urban greenway networks in the context of economic development.