By Tyler Falk
Posting in Cities
Cities are taking steps to make biking and walking a more viable transportation option. Which cities are seeing their investments payoff with more commuters getting to work on bike and foot?
Cities are taking steps to make biking and walking a more viable transportation option -- from new bike share programs to complete streets infrastructure. Which cities are seeing their investments payoff with more commuters getting to work on bike and foot?
A new report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking analyzes bike and pedestrian data from the largest 51 cities in the U.S. and ranks them based percentage of bike/pedestrian commuters. The report also looks at the safety, economic benefits, and funding levels for bike and pedestrian infrastructure.
Here's the top 10 cities with the highest percentage of commuters who bike or walk to work:
2. Washington, D.C.
3. San Francisco
5. New York
6. Portland, Ore.
10. New Orleans
But as walking and biking are gaining popularity in cities, with nearly 14% of all trips in major U.S. cities happening on foot or bike, funding level are low and fatalities are high: only 1.6% of the federal transportation budget is spent on bike and pedestrian infrastructure, while more than 30% of traffic fatalities in cities are bikers or pedestrians.
The report is packed with other interesting statistics:
- 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
- Up to $11.80 in benefits can be gained for every $1 invested in bicycling and walking
- From 2000 to 2009, the number of commuters who bicycle to work increased by 57%
- Between 1966 and 2009, the number of children who bicycled or walked to school fell 75%, while the percentage of obese children rose 276%
For more detailed statistics on biking and walking in your city and state, check out the report [PDF].
Photo: M.V. Jantzen/Flickr
Jan 25, 2012
As a regular resident of both Portland and DC I have a hard time believing that DC is a better place for biking and walking than Portland. Portland has hundreds of street miles and trail miles of bike/ped lanes and a culture that is supportive of both biking and walking. Not so in the DC area where it is extremely hazardous to both ride and walk. DC is working hard to improve with an expanded bike sharing program but the infrastructure for actually biking just isn't mature enough. Throughout the past 40 years I have biked and walked in both places and I would no longer risk biking in DC; competing with traffic is horrendous and life threatening. At 63 I still enjoy biking in Portland.
D.C. may be #2 with respect to the number of commuters who bike, but it is hardly a bike-friendly city. There are virtually no bike lanes and the traffic is horrendous. While it is fairly easy to get around on a bike once downtown, commuting there particularly from the 'burbs is nightmarish. While the Metro and other transport systems allow bicycles, they do so on off peak hours thus discouraging commuting. While D.C. is a lovely place to bicycle, it is hardly a bicycle commuting nirvana.
Very interesting. As a person with a disability and a professional trying to promote inclusion, however, I find many of these walkability type studies as yet another area of research that focuses on mainstream needs and requirements. I live in a city that is high on walkability and bikeability but low on wheelability (or walkability for other disabilities and seniors). Commuting stats would also miss out on the reality of this population as rates of employment are significantly less than the mainstream. Having said that, it at least a step (or push) in the right direction.