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New Data Show Bicycling and Walking in US Up by 25% Since 2001

The US Department of Transportation released new data from the Federal Highway Administration’s 2009 National Household Travel Survey which shows that both bicycling and walking trips have increased by 25% since 2001. The FHWA funded Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center included this data in The National Bicycling and Walking Study: A 15-Year Status Report. The report details trends and changes in bicycling and walking since 1994.

This report demonstrates what we’ve been saying here at the Department. Americans want and need safe alternatives to driving. And by making biking and walking safer and more accessible, we’ll be able to provide Americans with more choices and help foster more active, livable communities.

—US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood

Secretary LaHood recently announced a policy change to promote bicycle and pedestrian opportunities that encourage transportation agencies to go beyond minimum standards and provide safe and convenient facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists.

In the 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study, the US Department of Transportation established two goals: to reduce the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured in traffic crashes by 10% and to double the percentage of total trips made by bicycling and walking in the United States.

From 1993 to 2008, bicycle fatalities decreased by 22.3% and injuries decreased by 14.7%, and pedestrian fatalities dropped by 12% and injuries dropped by 17.8%, surpassing the goal in the 1994 report. However, in 2008, there were 4,378 pedestrians and 716 bicyclists killed in roadway crashes which indicates that there is still work to be done to make walking and bicycling safer and more convenient transportation options.

The number of reported walking trips has more than doubled since the first survey, from 18 billion in 1990 to 42.5 billion in 2009. Bicycling trips saw a similar increase, from 1.7 billion to four billion during the same period. While percentage increase in bicycle and pedestrian trips didn’t fully meet the goal, the report also noted the population increase resulted in a greater number of overall trips and that progress is being made.

The National Bicycling and Walking Study: A 15-Year Status Report is a status update to the 1994 National Bicycling and Walking Study. This new report looks at progress toward goals outlined in the original study and outlines federal, state and local programs that promote bicycle and walking throughout the country.

Comments

Jer

Nice to see an article/ study that is pro-bicycle/pedestrian and not directly anti-car. Unfortunately, the demographics are not broken down nor the reason for cycling/ walking - more seniors getting into it? more weekend pleasure trips? cars given up completely or cycling mixed into commuting? More in colder regions? financial reasons? Greater construction and maintenance of trails? Would be interesting to see why.

HarveyD

Good news. We should all walk more, including our overweight TV addicted kids.

ryupica

Wow! It’s nice to see that people are taking an environmental and health initiative to commute by walking or biking. I do agree with Jer’s comment though—it would be interesting to see the reason for the increase. Nevertheless, this is good to hear and will hopefully continue to catch on with more people. Also, thought I’d like to share: People can actually save money if they commute to work by bike and use the money towards bike repairs and accessories. A friend and I learned about this at www.commuternation.com. What’s even better news is that the Obama administration recently plans to double its funding for bicycling and walking projects. I think that we are definitely on the right track!

SJC

I would like to see a road, curb, bike path, sidewalk system. It would cost more and might take more land, but at least the cyclists would be protect from the cars by the curb. Pedestrians and cyclists can coexist on the same side of the curb nicely if they both have their own lanes.

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