A new benchmarking report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking shows a 57 percent growth in bike commuting in the United States and a 29 percent rise in pedestrian fatalities in large cities between 2000 and 2009. At the same time, federal funding – for both infrastructure and safety – has not kept up. This despite the fact that bicycle and pedestrian projects create more jobs than highway projects, and states with the highest levels of walking and biking are also among those with the lowest levels of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
These are just a few of the conclusions of this biennial report, which looks at indicators in all 50 states and the 51 largest cities. It has generated considerable interest, as cities and states jockey to show off their best statistics from the report.
And it’s not just cities that have higher levels of walking and biking. At the opposite end of the size spectrum, a report available on the Rails to Trails Conservancy website shows that rural areas are also seeing a surge in pedestrian and bike activity. The report shows the many benefits of walking and biking trails for smaller communities, from tourism to safer school commutes for kids, which many rural areas have not been able to compile and document. The web site also features an interactive map on-line to zoom in on any region.