Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Facts about Bicycling and Walking in the United States--2014 Benchmarking Report

On April 16th, the Alliance for Biking and Walking (one of BikeWalkLee's national partners) issued its 2014 "benchmarking" report on bicycling and walking in the US.  It's filled with tons of data and research on all 50 states, along with 52 of the most populous cities.  Here's a chance to learn what's happening around the country and see how Florida is stacking up against other states.

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 The Alliance produces the Benchmarking Report every two years in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative. The goal: to comprehensively examine bicycling and walking transportation across the U.S. and how these trends relate to public health, safety, and social and economic well being. Benchmarking is a particularly helpful approach to active transportation issues because it allows comparison among states and cities while also measuring national trends. The report looks not only at bicycling and walking levels, but a suite of related trends, like crash fatalities, weekly physical activity, transportation costs, air quality, and economic growth. 

Biking and walking are becoming increasingly popular in the United States. But how does Florida stack up against the rest of the country? Where is the most growth happening, and why? 

A new report from the Alliance for Biking and Walking examines the hard data behind the growing movement for more bicycling and walking – and finds that Florida ranks:
  •  in the bottom 20% (42 out of 50) in terms of our commuter bicycling and walking levels; 
  • in the top 40% (19 out of 50) in terms of per capita spending on bike/ped projects;
  • DEAD LAST (50 out of 50) in terms of bike/ped fatality rates
  • in the top 40% (19 out of 50) in terms of getting recommended physical activity  
The report also evaluates states in terms of whether they have published goals on four measures:
  • to increase walking
  • to increase biking
  • decrease ped fatalities
  • decrease bike fatalities
It was surprising to learn that Florida has goals for all these categories EXCEPT a goal to increase biking!

Only two Florida cities--Miami and Jacksonville--are included in the city reports.  Miami is doing a better job on all the indicators than Jacksonville (see above Florida rankings) except for percent getting recommended physical activity (Jacksonville is 17th and Miami is 29th); and Miami is doing better than the overall Florida rankings (except for the latter category).  In the ranking of the 52 cities on bike/ped fatality rates--Jacksonville ranks dead last (while Miami is 40th)...consistent with the overall dismal Florida ranking.

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report collects and analyzes data from all 50 states, 52 of the most populous cities, and – new to the 2014 edition – 17 small and midsized cities. The report traces the rise of walking and biking and explores its connection to health issues like obesity and diabetes.

Using hard data from public agencies and original research, the Benchmarking Report answers important questions such as:

·         In which states and cities do the most – and fewest – people bike and walk to work?
·         What is the single biggest predictor of how many people bike and walk to work in a city or state?
·         Where is the gender split of bicycle commuters most – and least – pronounced?
·         How do levels of biking and walking relate to public health indicators, like high blood pressure and diabetes?
·         What are states and cities doing to encourage more biking and walking?
·         Where are pedestrian and bicyclist fatality rates highest – and lowest?
·         Where are bike share systems and innovative bike facilities growing most rapidly?

Available in full color, Bicycling and Walking in the United States is an invaluable resource for policymakers, planners, and advocates working to establish, test, and defend initiatives that promote biking and walking.

Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative, AARP, and the American Public Transportation Association. Print copies will be available from Island Press on May 15, 2014.

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