Subsidizing Biking to Cut Car Use
France and the EU are looking at incentives to cut car use via various biking programs. Details on current efforts and the Bike2Work initiative
France is launching a pilot subsidy program that pays commuters who opt to bike rather than drive their cars 25 euro cents per kilometer. The program will play off existing subsidies the French government provides to commuters who use public transit.
The French Transport Ministry projects 10,000 individuals from 20 different companies will participate in the subsidy program. The government will monitor the success of the pilot to determine if a subsidy can motivate residents to bike around the commuter rather than use carbon emitting vehicles.
The Transport Ministry is aiming to boost bike use by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all trips to and from work. The subsidy pilot is part of a larger push to increase active modes of transit that includes walking. The government is creating awareness of different transportation types, the benefits of walking and cycling, and how the economy benefits from more active modes of transit.
Increasing the number of bikers on the road will provide communities in France with several benefits including:
- Reduced road congestion and noise
- Lowered carbon emissions
- Less vehicle-related accidents and fatalities
- Improved quality of life and health for residents
Other European communities offering tax breaks and other financial incentives to cyclists include Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
The EU Push
On a larger scale, the European Union funded a study with the European Cyclists’ Federation to identify best practices in bicycle incentive programs worldwide. Based on the results of the study, the European Commission has launched the Bike2Work program that focuses on two fields of action that have proven success in motivating more cyclists: generating buy in from employers and educating the public on the benefits of biking. When the two methodologies are implemented in tandem, biking programs have proven to be more successful in the short and long term. Bike2Work’s goals include:
- Extending nationwide bike campaigns for individuals and companies
- Enabling small scale campaigns on larger levels
- Replicating successful campaigns in different countries
- Introducing interactive technologies to engage users
Overall, the Bike2Work program has thus far achieved:
- 8,870 tons of fuel savings
- 52,299 tons in carbon emission reductions
- Participation of 295 employers
Between 2015 and 2020, Bike2Work expects 22,000 tons of total fuel will be saved, which will equal about 133,500 less tons of carbon emissions.
To achieve these goals, the Bike2Work program has campaigns designed for employers, municipalities and nationwide efforts – each scaled for optimal efficiency and engagement. The program aims to help participating organizations overcome common barriers to participation in biking programs with supportive tools including outreach resources, online information and scheduled promotional activity.
All participants receive online analysis tools to highlight the progress of each campaign, allowing decision makers to make changes over time to improve results. The availability of other online tools ensures participants can maintain the campaigns in the long term for continual energy savings, cost reductions and overall wellbeing.
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