Solving Cities

Top 10 U.S. cities for biking and walking

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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:

1. Boston
2. Washington, D.C.
3. San Francisco
4. Seattle
5. New York
6. Portland, Ore.
7. Minneapolis
8. Philadelphia
9. Honolulu
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

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Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure