Chart of the Day: Costs per Passenger-Mile of Different Modes

Via Planetizen, here’s a fascinating chart showing the “total cost” of travel according to different modes. While I’m skeptical about the ability to commensurably compare time with money, that’s basically what this tries to do.

Here’s driving vs. walking vs. bicycling:

time cost mode share chart

The article, by the indispensable Todd Litman, makes the following argument..

Of course, these costs vary depending on preferences and conditions: some people spend more on their bikes and shoes than required for functional purposes; some cyclists and pedestrians are safer or faster than others; and because travel time is such a large portion of active mode travel costs, their total costs are highly affected by the value users assign this time. As a result, using these modes is costly for people who dislike walking and cycling, but inexpensive if people enjoy these activities or appreciate their health benefits, so active travel substitutes for special time that must be spent exercising. As a result, under favorable conditions, walking and cycling can be very cost effective.

One of the reasons why I enjoy walking and bicycling is because of this extra time involved in traveling. For me, it’s time well spent, and allows me to relax, exercise, experience my city in new ways, and contemplate my day.

I guess the key takeway is that bicycling and walking involve a fundamental lifestyle change around how you use your time.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.