Economic evaluation of cycle projects

| June 10, 2010

Written by Eva Willumsen, COWI.

The City of Copenhagen wants to quantify the economic consequences for society of projects that improve the conditions for cyclists. Therefore the City of Copenhagen asked COWI to establish an initial methodological basis for carrying out cost-benefit analyses of bicycle projects.


COWI established unit costs per kilometer driven on bicycle for health effects (reduced illness and increased life expectancy), time use, bicycle costs, accident costs and branding value. Other effects were described. The figure below gives an overview of the effects of cycling.

Cost-benefit analysis of two cases

COWI carried out cost-benefit analyses of two cases: Bryggebroen –  a bridge for cyclist and  pedestrians –  and the intersection in Gyldenløvsgade. The cost-benefit analyses were based on the established unit costs and a questionnaire among cyclists as foundation for the traffic analysis.


The results of the two case studies show that bicycle projects are likely to yield a positive economic return for society, because the benefits of the projects exceed the costs. The bicycle projects gave rates of return of 8% and 33% respectively, which is well beyond the 5% that is required for infrastructure projects in Denmark. The bicycle projects are therefore economically comparable to road and rail infrastructure projects carried out in Denmark.

Download the publication “Economic Evaluation of Cycle Projects.”

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Category: Danish Cycling Know How, Economy

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