The City of Charlottetown and UPEI School of Business are partnering on a project to assess the economic impact of cycling in Charlottetown.
Third-year business students are examining different components of Charlottetown’s existing cycling infrastructure and programming to identify opportunities that will increase cycling and generate economic growth.
Projects will range from the value and impact of cycling programs for school-age children, the economic impact of bike shares and bike rentals to Charlottetown’s tourism industry and the return on investment for cycling infrastructure upgrades including dedicated cycling paths.
The concept is based on the book, Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy by Elly Blue. The book examines the individual and societal cost of transportation and how people, businesses and governments can benefit from an increased focus on cycling as a favoured method of transportation.
This partnership is a follow-up to the work completed in the fall semester by a UPEI student in the Environmental Studies Department. Nathalia Hipolito Cardozo completed a Cycling Survey for Charlottetown as part of her course work. More than 230 individuals completed the survey and provided their feedback on what is working and what needs more focus to improve cycling in Charlottetown.
"There are so many benefits of cycling for our residents and for our community as a whole," said Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee. "From improved health to reduced air pollution and increased tourism potential, we value cycling in our city and want to support it, any way we can. We are hoping to gain some great ideas from this group of young minds that will identify some of the ways we can improving the cycling experience in Charlottetown."
The City adopted the Regional Active Transportation Plan in 2012 as a joint planning effort between the City, Town of Cornwall, Town of Stratford and the PEI Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (now the Department of Transportation, Infrastructure and Energy). Since that time, the City has worked to improve cycling infrastructure whenever opportunities arise in an effort to create a connected cycling system in the city. In 2015, the City installed lighting on a section of the Confederation Trail and completed trail resurfacing to increase access and safety for active transportation, which includes cycling and walking.
"We are hearing a lot of feedback that there needs to be more of a focus on cycling," said Councillor Bob Doiron, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee. "Whether from the cycling survey or from the recent public consultation sessions for the City’s sustainability plan update, support for cycling has been really clear and this project is a great fit in our continued efforts to improve."
Many Canadian cities are focusing on cycling as a way to address commuter traffic, health concerns for citizens and climate change mitigation. Canada is playing catch-up with European countries that have embraced cycling for decades and reaped the long-term benefits. Montreal is currently the only Canadian City to make the Top 20 Annual Copenhagenize index, which recognizes the most bike-friendly cities in the world.
"By focusing their business knowledge and skills on the economic benefits of growing Charlottetown's bicycling infrastructure, students in the School of Business at UPEI are addressing a global issue at the local level while making the Island a safer, healthier, and environmentally friendlier place," said Dr. Juergen Krause, Dean of UPEI’s School of Business.
For more information on the City’s Sustainability initiatives, visit: www.TheInspiredCity.com
City of Charlottetown