New study finds it's six times more expensive to travel by car than cycle

A new study of Copenhagen has found that it's six times more expensive for society, and for individuals, to travel by car instead of cycling. 

The study uses a cost benefit analysis that looks at road wear, air pollution, health, congestion, noise, travel route and climate change. It found that each km travelled by car or bike incurs a cost to society, though the cost of car driving is more than six times higher (Euro 0.50/km) than cycling (Euro 0.08/km). Moreover, while the cost of car driving is likely to increase in the future, the cost of cycling appears to be declining.

The study, Transport transitions in Copenhagen: Comparing the cost of cars and bicycles, is by Stefan Gössling from Lund University and Andy S. Choi from the University of Queensland. 

The cost benefit analysis does not include all benefits of cycling. While it includes both private (health, machine operating) and social costs (accidents, climate change input), the study found that it's difficult to monetise cyclists’ and drivers’ perceived comfort and safety, recreational values, valuing open spaces, and the negative effect of car driving on tourism and branding. Just considering social effects leads to the conclusion that each kilometre cycling adds to society (0.16 euro) and each kilometre driving costs society (0.15 euro). The societal benefits of cycling in Copenhagen are estimated to be 228 million Euro per year.

The report summarises that cost benefit analysis in Copenhagen convincingly show that investments in infrastructure, safety and policies favouring cycling are economically justified, yielding a high rate of return.