The world could save trillions with buses and bikes
New Climate Economy, a group of economists formed to examine the costs and benefits of addressing climate change, say that investing in more efficient transportation, buildings and waste management could save cities worldwide at least $17 trillion. One way to unlock that savings is to promote bikes and buses.
The savings come from stimulating economic activity, decreasing health care costs, reducing poverty, and cutting the costs associated with urban sprawl, like time and productivity lost to traffic congestion. That’s according to the group’s report, Accelerating Low‐Carbon Development in the World’s Cities.
There are “compelling economic, social and environmental reasons for cities to invest in safe and well‐connected cycling infrastructure,” the report says. Biking eases congestion, reduces health care costs, and cuts air pollution. It’s an “equitable transport mode,” since it’s far cheaper to own and maintain a bike than a car.
“For too long, there’s been the same old argument used to prevent bold action on climate change, which is there’s some sort of tradeoff between economic prosperity and climate action,” says Nick Godfrey, an author of the report and the organization’s head of policy and urban development. “In cities, that is a false choice. Actually, there is a significant confluence between promoting economic growth and prosperity, and climate action.”