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Bicycling and Walking in the United States – Benchmarking Report


Residents of major cities are 1.8 times more likely to bicycle or walk to work than the national average. The Alliance for Bicycling and Walking produced this benchmarking report to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and at least 50 major U.S. cities. The report is intended to promote data collection and availability of information pertaining to bicycling and walking, measure progress and evaluate results of efforts geared toward increasing bicycling and walking, and support efforts that encourage bicycling and walking in all states. The report aims to help states and local communities set goals, plan strategies, and evaluate results of their bicycling and walking initiatives.

Key Points

Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many of the largest problems facing our nation today including record high obesity rates, oil dependency, and global warming. This comprehensive benchmarking report examines the progress many cities and states have made toward providing safe and accessible environments for cyclists and pedestrians.

In the absence of a national complete streets policy, this report encourages state and local officials to pursue local policies that will guarantee safe access for all road users. The report proves that continuous evaluations of efforts and initiatives that promote bicycling and walking is key to understanding the relationships between the level of bicycling and walking and the number of policies and provisions that are adopted.

Other report highlights include:

  • Over one-third of the U.S. population is under age 16 or over age 65. Streets are not designed to meet the needs of these is vulnerable populations that cannot, or may not want to, drive a car to get to their destinations. Not providing safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure significantly reduces these groups’ mobility options thus, isolating them to their homes.
  • Portland, Oregon ranks in the top 10 safest cities for walking and bicycling. According to the report, Portland experiences only 1.2 bicyclist fatalities per 10,000 bicyclists. Portland focuses much of its efforts on promoting education, community outreach, and encouragement for current and future bicyclists. The city leads the way in trying out new and innovative bicycle infrastructure such as bicycle parking spots, colored bike lanes, bike boxes, and bicycle traffic signals.

How to Use

Local officials and community leaders can use the report to study the successes and failures of bicycling and walking initiatives in other areas and set their goals accordingly. The comprehensive data provided throughout this report can be used by community planners and developers, as well as government officials and local leaders to assess the bikability and walkability of their own communities. It can also be used as a resource when educating citizens and key opinion leaders on the health and economic benefits of active transportation for individuals and the community as a whole.

View full report: Bicycling and Walking in the United States – Benchmarking Report (PDF –  14 MB)

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