Assessing the Economic Impact and Health Effects of Bicycling in Minnesota

Principal Investigator:

Xinyi Qian, Tourism Specialist, UM Extension


Project Summary:

The recently completed 20-year Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan identified bicycling as an integral part of Minnesota's transportation system. However, research on bicycling in Minnesota has been selective and does not provide a comprehensive understanding of the economic impact of bicycling (Transportation Research Synthesis#1309). Therefore, a concerted effort to quantify the economic impact of bicycling in Minnesota is needed. To address the need, this project uses a four-component design. The first component is a bicycling industry analysis, by interviewing key industry informants and surveying manufacturers, parts suppliers, distributors, and retail establishments. The second component involves conducting visitor profile studies of selected bicycling events in Minnesota, revealing event visitors' characteristics and spending patterns. Studying findings from these two components will provide crucial information that enables estimating the economic impact of the bicycling industry and events respectively. The third component systematically combs through studies that estimated bicycling infrastructure use in various parts of Minnesota to provide a comprehensive estimate for the magnitude of bicycling infrastructure usage in the state. The fourth component examines the health benefits of bicycling, by performing secondary analysis of existing data, analyzing data collected from bicyclists, and estimating the economic value of the health benefits associated with bicycling. Together, the four components are able to demonstrate the economic impact of bicycling on employment, transportation, tourism, recreation, and health, all of which, as shown in previous research (report No. MN/RC 2013-05), are integral to quality of life. The anticipated impact of the project includes uncovering ways of facilitating future development of the bicycling industry, informing the planning of biking infrastructure, justifying support for bicycling events, and providing evidence for the health benefits and associated economic value of bicycling.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 07/2014
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Bicycling, Environment