Alliance for Biking & Walking releases 2012 Benchmarking Report

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Today the Alliance for Bicycling and Walking released the third edition of its Benchmarking Report, which ranks all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities on bicycling and walking levels, safety, funding, and other factors. 

This report comes at a critical moment, with the federal transportation bill set to expire at the end of March. The Benchmarking Report reveals that, in nearly every city and state, bicyclists and pedestrians currently receive less than a fair share of transportation dollars. While 12 percent of trips in the U.S. are by bike or foot, bicycle and pedestrian projects receive less than 2 percent of federal transportation dollars.

The 2012 Benchmarking Report compiles persuasive evidence that bicycle and pedestrian projects create more jobs than highway projects, and provide at least three dollars of benefit for every dollar invested. The report also highlights the health benefits of active transportation, showing that states with the highest rates of bicycling and walking are also among those with the lowest rates of obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure. “The data points to one conclusion: Investing in biking and walking projects creates jobs, leads to more people biking and walking, and improves safety and public health,” Alliance President Jeffrey Miller says.

John Pucher, a professor at Rutgers University, emphasizes: “The wide range of environmental, social, and economic benefits of walking and bicycling, so clearly documented in this report, justify greatly increased investment in facilities and programs to encourage more walking and cycling, and to improve the safety of these most sustainable of all transportation modes.”  

 Other highlights from the report include:

• 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).

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and made possible through additional support from AARP and Planet Bike. To view rankings of the 50 states and 51 largest U.S. cities, and to download or purchase a hard copy of the report visit www.PeoplePoweredMovement.org/benchmarking.