An intriguing use of the result of a calculation like this would be to calculate the value of the carbon emissions avoided on the global carbon market (as is done the article cited below). This gives you an instant ability to value the investment of the grant. The cost-benefit analysis is pretty coarse. But if you were reliably promising $20,000 of carbon avoided in the next year, and I were an agency whose job it was to produce public goods via grants, I would gladly trade $10,000 cash for the $20,000 value you were offering (provided I had no better alternatives).
Massink, R., Zuidgeest, M., Rijnsburger, J., Sarmiento, O. L., & van Maarseveen, M. (2011). The Climate Value of Cycling. Natural Resources Forum, 35(2), 100-111. doi:10.1111/j.1477-8947.2011.01345.x
The reduction of CO emissions constitutes one of the largest challenges of the current era. Sustainable transportation, and especially cycling, can contribute to the mitigation of CO emissions since cycling possesses an intrinsic zero-emission value. Few studies have been conducted that appraise the CO reduction potential of cycling. Opportunity costs enable the estimation of avoided CO emissions resulting from bicycle trips. The methodology developed in this research allows the attribution of a climate value to cycling by substituting bicycle trips with their most likely alternative transportation modes and calculating the resulting additional CO emissions. The methodology uses data on the current modal shares of cycling mobility, the competition of cycling with other transportation modes, and CO emission factors to calculate the climate value of cycling. When it is assumed that the avoided CO emissions of cycling mobility could be traded on financial carbon markets, the climate value of cycling represents a monetary value. Application of the methodology to the case of Bogotá, Colombia - a city with a current bicycle modal share of 3.3% on a total of 10 million daily trips - results in a climate value of cycling of 55,115 tons of CO per year, corresponding to an economic value of between 1 and 7 million US dollars when traded on the carbon market.
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] on behalf of Martin, Eric Vance Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 1:55 PM To: The Think Tank Subject: Re: [TheThinkTank] Measuring carbon emission reduction or car use reduction
There really should be an online tool for doing this problem with the best available estimates, but I'm not aware of any.
Super rough idea:
There is an estimate of the difference in carbon emission per passenger km between (european) automobile and bicycle here: http://bikeportland.org/2011/12/12/new-study-compares-bicyclings-co2-emissio...
Most bike trips will be approximately 10 km or less (is that right?). The average bike trip in the US was 3.9 miles in the summer months in 2002. Maybe longer now with better infrastructure. Google this for Canada? Really you'd need to find an average trip length for the whole year to make the calculation simpler.
You would need to estimate the number of one-person trips of the approximate maximum bikeable length or less that a typical person might substitute bike for car as the mode in, say, a year with their new bike. Key here is typical or average. Not everyone who acquires a bike is going to make all bikeable trips by bike. (You might be able to get an estimate of bicycle owners' typical number of bicycle trips per week by extrapolating from the Decima study of Toronto cited here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cycling_in_Toronto).
Calculate the total number of person-kilometers in likely-bicycled trips per year. Then calculate the carbon emission for both car and bike. Calculate the difference. Then multiply that times the number of people affected (number of bikes you made available to people?).
That's the carbon saved.
Can someone check my thought process?
In reality, the numbers are so small that they will be within the margin of error at the population level, but it doesn't hurt to estimate. There may in fact be a real savings.
From: email@example.com [firstname.lastname@example.org] on behalf of La Bikery [email@example.com] Sent: Monday, December 09, 2013 12:37 PM To: The Think Tank Subject: [TheThinkTank] Measuring carbon emission reduction or car use reduction
We are in the process of applying for a grant and want to make a case that we contribute to a reduction in CO2 emissions and reduction in car use. Does anyone have experience or ideas about how we might be able to measure our impact on that specific issue?
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