Travelers with the lightest footprints, pedestrians, and bicyclists, recently earned a boost in their pockets for their carbon-free travel in a small city in Norway. In Lillestrøm, around 10,000 NOK (€1,200) was handed out to pedestrians and cyclists. “Reverse toll money” was part of Norway’s ongoing European Mobility Week celebrations. The money reflected savings due to the health benefits of walking and cycling. Pedestrians and bicyclists gained the rewards for increasing clean, efficient transport in the city.
World Streets reports: “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).”
Eric Britton is enthusiastic and points out clearly: “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.”
Contrasting examples, Britton points out that in many cities parking is supplied for work commuters at either no or well less than market prices. Britton notes this is an asymmetrical incentive to encourage car use. We know there are alternatives to cars for trips, so why are we encouraging driving? Cars are encouraged in this way and are thus heavily subsidized by the taxpayers while providing societal harm.
You’ve refreshed us, Lillestrøm! Appreciations to European Mobility Week, another great week with great rewards similar to the Eco-mobility World Festival that encouraged 4,343 residents and car owners to volunteer to give up the use of their cars for the entire month. The residents agreed to exclude 1,500 cars from the streets. They found they experienced a healthier, more sustainable, more environmentally friendly, and more pleasurable life as a result.
Some hopeful news in the United States: Rails to Trails explains how it is at a critical turning point in Florida as Florida’s Amendment 1 could pave (or unpave?) the way for preserving environmentally sensitive land and increasing trails in the Sunshine State.