Using the World Health Organization HEAT index, ROI on the SuperBikeway could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The online questionnaire asks us for data and suggests sources: Before we begin the HEAT assessment, it
is worth noting: An estimate of how many people are walking or cycling. This might come from route user surveys, population surveys, roadside counts, or could be estimates, for example from scenario analyses. (Data was taken from CTA and Metra sources. http://www.transitchicago.com/ridership/ and https://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/planning_records_reports/ ridership_reports/station_level_data.html) I used local transit survey information and created ridership numbers based upon a 5%, 10% and a 20% ridership.
An estimate of the average duration spent walking or cycling in the study population, which can again come from surveys or from estimates. HEAT gives one the choice of I chose 40 minutes of cycling per day as the average duration for 180 days per year. This puts us at about 36 weeks of cycling out of the 52 weeks per year. This allows for riders to sit out 16 weeks a year or the majority of winter.
The baseline cost for this section of the SuperBikeway is borrowed from the recently completed 606 line. The
606 was $33 million per mile of totally reconstructed viaduct infrastructure with all new bridge crossings. The SuperBikeway has two parts: the shared path and the outrigger. There are also only 5 stations compared to 11 on the 606. The SuperBikeway stations are meant for bikes and it lacks many of the amenities seen in the 606. There is lighting, but no landscaping or pedestrian amenities. The existed roadbed is used “as is” as opposed to being rebuilt. The modelled cost of the 13 mile long shared pathway is $30 million including its 4 stations. The modelled cost of the outrigger section is slightly less than the 606 cost as it is smaller and requires (at a cursory glance) less work. The total estimated cost for the SuperBikeway is $130 million. These costs should be reexamined at
a later date once the first numbers are crunched and the benefit is calculated (or no benefit is found relative to infrastructure costs.)
9 606 cost per mile was taken from the http://www.the606.org
The results of the test are as follows: an economic gain of 3.03, 6.06 and 8.4 times over a 20 year period.10 The gain was proportional to the number of riders which were 3,922 , 7,843 and 11,118. What did we learn? First the hypothesis that building encouraging wellness through a separate, non- stop cycling highway would bring a net return on investment assuming our costs are correct. With further analysis, these costs can be made more
in line with the reality of building the project. The project also could also be modified in order to make the budget work.
The goal is not to replace the role of transportation planner but to bring a fresh set of eyes to the challenge of the turn-of-the-twentieth century city, where budgets are low but expectations about quality of life are high. With an innovative eye, cost effective solutions can be found hiding in plain sight and the public health improved. The hypothesis has legs and is worth exploring further. This, in our opinion, is what resilience is all about.