Bicycle-friendly amenities are contributing to a surge in property values for communities everywhere, marshaled by developments in urban centers and suburban outposts that accommodate “active” transportation.
“Today, bike trails, bike lanes, bike-share systems, and other forms of active transportation infrastructure are helping spur a new generation of ‘trail-oriented development,’” states a recently released report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) that profiles 10 such developments.
The report, “Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier,” cites a considerable statistic: on a national scale, the values of homes in areas with “above-average” access to active transportation are higher than those of comparable properties by as much as $34,000.
Homes in proximity to the bike-able Indianapolis Cultural Trail, for instance, have seen an astronomical rise in value since the trail’s opening six years ago—148 percent, the report states. In Radnor Township, Pa., the Radnor Trail has raised the values of properties within a quarter-mile by an average approaching $70,000. Similar trends have also emerged in Atlanta and Dallas.
Some draws to these trails are:
· Enhanced well-being: an increased sense of safety made possible by features like graded paths, protective posts and “bicycle boulevards”, especially appealing to bicycle commuters.
· The opportunity for outdoor physical activity.
· Bicycle networks can lead to a reduction in air pollution and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions: The Department of Transportation claims half of all trips taken in the U.S. are less than three miles long—a 20-minute ride by bicycle.
Big-picture implications can arise as well, such as increases in rents and retail sales, and a decrease (by the millions) in medical costs, all as a result of trail-oriented development.
Although most people would probably prefer to live in an area without the need for a car, many communities lack access to facilities that fit the bicycle-friendly criteria.
The funds needed to install a bicycle network are relatively modest and some builders have begun to cater to the mounting demand for accessible development. Key members of the industry, however, have yet to take action.
At its core, the bicycle boom is about people choosing a lifestyle that gives them more options and requires less dependence on motor vehicles. Through supporting bike infrastructure, real estate professionals who influence the built environment [buildings, neighborhoods and streets] can play a significant role in creating healthier, more sustainable communities.
Is there a bicycle network in your community?