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Benchmarking biking and walking

Via Dallas Transportation, here’s a ginormous comprehensive report on the way we walk and bike in 2012, the 2012 Bicycling and Walking in the United States Benchmark Report, by the Alliance for Biking and Walking. It’s a 200+ page PDF file, so be prepared to spend some time on it. Here’s some overview information about the report, and here’s the press release. Some facts from the press release to whet your appetite:

Not bike commuters

  • In 2009, 40% of trips in the United States were shorter than 2 miles, yet 87% of these trips are by car. Twenty-seven percent of trips were shorter than 1 mile. Still, Americans use their cars for 62% of these trips.
  • While bicycling and walking fell 66% between 1960 and 2009, obesity levels increased 156%.
  • Seniors are the most vulnerable bicyclists and pedestrians. Adults over 65 make up 10% of walking trips, yet comprise 19% of pedestrian fatalities. This age group accounts for 6% of bicycling trips, yet 10% of bicyclist fatalities.
  • Bicycling and walking projects create 11-14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to just 7 jobs created per $1 million spent on highway projects. Cost benefit analysis show that up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking.
  • On average, the largest 51 U.S. cities show a 29% increase in bicycle facilities since the 2010 report. Cities report that 20,908 miles of bicycle facilities and 7,079 miles of pedestrian facilities are planned for the coming years (much of this contingent upon funding).

Biking walking may have declined from 1960 to 2009, but after hitting a trough in 2005 things have started to reverse. There’s generally more walking and biking in big cities than anywhere else, though believe it or not the state with the highest percentage of people walking to work is Alaska. I didn’t see that one coming, either. Appendix 4 on page 205 has the numbers, and I was pleased to note that the figure cited for Houston bike commuters in 2009 fits in comfortably with the range given in the last bike commuting survey we saw. Needless to say, there’s still plenty of room for growth. Anyway, take a look when you have a free hour or two. There’s a ton of references in the appendices that will be useful to you as well.

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