A value for money assessment for two government grants to boost cycling suggests that every £1 of public money spent has provided £5.50 worth of social benefit.
The assessment examined the impact of the DfT’s Cycle City Ambition Grant and Cycling in National Parks Grant. The two schemes received a total of £94m of central government funding – £77m for eight cities and £17m for four National Parks. Local contributions for the 12 schemes took the total investment in cycling to just below £150m.
More than 60% of benefits estimated for the Cycle City Ambition Grant come from increased physical fitness. The four National Park schemes similarly show a majority of benefits derived from increased physical activity. While the second most substantial benefit in cities is decongestion, journey quality was found to be more important in the National Parks.
The assessment found that the combined BCR (benefit cost ratio) for the funding stream as a whole, both under Cycle City Ambition Grant and Cycling in National Park Grant, is 5.5:1 which suggests that for every £1 of public money spent, the funded schemes provide £5.50 worth of social benefit.
The grants are therefore considered to “deliver very high value for money” and this “provides further confirmation that targeted investment into cycling can bring very strong returns to society”.