What’s the typical cost of walking and cycling infrastructure?

Comment & Analysis: Some recent projects including the Royal Canal Greenway at €15.4 per/km and the Clontarf to City Centre route at €20.8 million per/km have been questioned for their high costs (see here and here for explainers), but what are the typical costs for active travel infrastructure?

In February, the NTA published an infographic of the typical costs for active travel infrastructure.

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People can often underestimate the basics, for example, that signalised pedestrian crossings can cost €100-€150k while zebra crossings can be €30k with beacons plus €10k to make it into a raised crossing with a ramp. Narrowing wide junctions can cost €10k-€20k per junction.

A European Cyclists’ Federation comparison of the cost of cycle routes across Europe said: “The costs of constructing cycling infrastructure vary from under €50,000 to over €10,000,000 per kilometre. While cycle tracks per se are very cheap, most costs are determined by the range of additional works included in the project.” That was published two years ago, in March 2021.

A UK Department of Transport report from five years ago put the cost of main cycle routes at £0.96-£1.45m and Goldstandardcycling.com outlines the following per km costs routes in London:

The NTA explainer with the infographic said: “Key factors influencing the cost include: moving drainage or electricity/gas/water services, providing traffic lights, new street lighting, moving the edge of the carriageway. Big junctions or bridges require careful design, construction and traffic management.”

It said: “In addition, protected heritage or environmentally sensitive areas require special, more expensive materials and limited construction times.”

The NTA said that the costs are approximate and based on recent project out-turn costs and do not generally include land costs.

New footpaths, including drainage and lighting, cost between €0.15-€0.7m:

In the NTA’s infographic, the cheapest cycling infrastructure which has an average cost range of between €0.1-€0.75m/km:

The next step up is quick-build cycle tracks for €0.25-€1m/km:

More extensive projects typically cost between €4-7m/km:

Greenways (in non-complex environments) cost between €1-4m/km

Main junctions between €0.4-€2m:

Ramps and raised tables cost between €5-10k while school street interventions can range from €30k-€300k:

Walking and cycling bridges cost €15k/m squared:

Here’s the full infographic:

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