Physically Active Transportation

Promoting Physically Active Transportation Modes

For many Americans today, daily walking and biking is not an integral part of their daily routine. For example, in 2009, only 12.7% of children walked or rode their bicycle to school—down from 47.7% in 1969 (4) . In 2009, adults reported taking 83.4% of trips by personal vehicle and just 10.4% of trips on foot (5); Nearly half of all trips taken in the U.S. are shorter than three miles (6). Walking and bicycling are perfect transportation modes for such short trips, and expanding safe, physically active transportation choices for trips like these can help improve public health, conserve energy and reduce traffic congestion.

A growing body of evidence links physical or built environmental features including sidewalks, accessible trails and parks, lighting and traffic patterns with increased walking and bicycling (7). Providing safe, appropriate accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists may be particularly important in disadvantaged communities.  Low-income populations may be more likely to walk for transport (8,9) and have more exposure to traffic hazards (10).

County estimates obtained from the 2000 U.S. Census showing the proportion of employed persons whose reported mode of journey to work typically included walking, bicycling or public transportation (representing a physically active journey to work) are included in the State Data Profiles.