The Case for Active Transportation, by the Numbers

Snapshot_2008_10_24_11_21_59.jpgThanks to commenter Stephen for prodding us to post on the new report from the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, "Active Transportation for America" (download the PDF here).

What
makes the report notable are the numbers it contains. It’s jam-packed
with quantifiable benefits that would result from increased investment
in infrastructure that encourages and supports pedestrians and
cyclists.

For instance, the report’s authors write:

  • Increasing
    the bicycle and pedestrian share of trips of one mile or less from
    currently 31 percent to 40 percent under a Modest Scenario, and to 70
    percent under a Substantial scenario, would result in 28 billion or 49
    billion miles driven avoided, respectively.
  • Modest
    increases in bicycling and walking for short trips could provide enough
    exercise for 50 million inactive Americans to meet recommended activity
    levels, erasing a sizeable chunk of America’s activity deficit.
  • For
    the price of a single mile of a four-lane urban highway, approximately
    $50 million, hundreds of miles of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure
    can be built, an investment that could complete an entire network of
    active transportation facilities for a mid-sized city.
  • The
    financial value of improved mobility, fuel savings, greenhouse gas
    reductions, and health care savings amounts to more than $10 billion
    annually under our Modest Scenario. For the Substantial Scenario,
    benefits would add up to more than $65 billion every year. These
    benefits dwarf historic spending for bicycling and walking, which was
    $453 million per year for 2005–2007 under SAFETEA-LU, and a mere $4.5
    billion cumulative federal investment in these modes since 1992, when
    bicycling and walking first received documentable federal funding.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

L.A. vs. S.F.: How Does Transportation Really Compare?

|
Last week, the Los Angeles Times published an article titled, “San Francisco residents relying less on private automobiles.” It is summarized at today’s Metro transportation headlines. The Times highlighted recent good news, reported in early February at Streetsblog SF, that 52 percent of San Francisco trips are taken by means other than a private car: […]

Golden State Could Be Sitting on Livable Streets Gold Mine

|
(The debate over how to spend the state’s cap-and-trade funding source was already hot last year. This year, it could become one of the largest transportation stories in the state, competing even with High Speed Rail. As such, Streetsblog L.A. welcomes op/ed pieces on how to best use those funds. Email ideas to damien@streetsblog.org – […]