Creating Value

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Benefit-cost analysis chart



Long-term quantitative benefits

The BGC represents a critical opportunity to convert a deteriorating and over-capacity bicycle and pedestrian corridor into a safe, accessible and multimodal transportation facility that will connect existing and future users to active and sustainable transportation options using innovative design. This table presents a summary of benefits and costs for the BGC, which is estimated to provide $28.1 million to $67.5 million in net benefits assuming 7% and 3% discount rates, respectively.1.

1 - The demand forecasting process for this analysis considered previously published forecasts of future pedestrian and bicycle user volumes and applied seasonality based on data from several bike facilities in the area and in the Northwest. Without improvement, it was assumed that pedestrians continue to use the facility and eventually begin to crowd out bicyclists during peak periods. These bicyclists who are crowded out become new facility users under the build scenario, with benefits applied because they would otherwise not be on the facility. By separating bicycle and pedestrian modes, the new facility considerably increases the capacity of the trail on the UW campus.

Job creation

In addition to the long-term benefits described above, the BGC also results in considerable short-term job creation. Based on a near-term economic impacts analysis utilizing IMPLAN, the BGC creates 463 job-years, including 293 direct/indirect job-years and 170 induced job-years.

Employment benefit
Jobs created by sector

Additional long-term benefits

A number of long-term benefits associated with the BGC are omitted from the quantitative analysis detailed above, but nevertheless include substantial qualitative benefits in terms of safety, environmental sustainability and livability.

The National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 552, Guidelines for Analysis of Investments in Bicycle Facilities, recommends against monetizing the reduction of accidents in the benefit-cost analysis. However, the BGC’s safety improvements are unquestionable and will contribute to a much safer experience for trail users and drivers on intersecting arterials. Poor intersection design throughout the trail has led to over 70 reported collisions and 45 injured pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists in the past 10 years. The BGC drastically improves these flawed designs and will create a much safer transportation network and user experience. Per NCHRP Guidelines, this analysis attributes $.06 in cost savings (2013$) due to reduced emissions for each bicycle mile traveled in lieu of auto use. A separate analysis demonstrates that the BGC results in reductions of approximately 20 million pounds of carbon dioxide, 685 thousand pounds of carbon monoxide, 52 thousand pounds of nitrous oxides, and 75 thousand pounds of hydrocarbons. However, to avoid double-counting benefits, additional reductions in greenhouse gases and other emissions have not been monetized.

The BGC enhances the safety and usability for ADA users by creating or improving ADA accessibility at 10 locations along the trail. Since the magnitude of the improvements varies by location, this benefit has not been monetized. However these improvements are critical to maintain compliance with ADA standards and ensure access to the Link light rail, bus transit, the UW and the UCUC for all users.


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Three bike share stations are planned adjacent to the trail, providing public access to bikes along a safe and convenient route to employment, education, retail, entertainment and services.”

— Holly Hauser, Executive Director, Puget Sound Bike Share