It’s been a great couple of weeks for the data-hungry.
Last week, we learned that states spent an average of $2.17 for each of us on biking and walking, even though biking and walking account for 12% of all trips—and 14% of all traffic fatalities.
If you’re not paying attention, the take-away: NOT. FAIR.
Two other tidbits: Seattle ranks #4 in the nation for biking and walking (combined). And an analysis of cost-benefit shows that every dollar we invest in bicycling and walking yields up to $11.80 in benefits! Cha-ching.
Dig deeper into the Alliance for Biking and Walking 2012 Benchmarking Report here.
We’re trying to address that awful disparity in investment at the national level (with an upcoming vote in the House this week—stay tuned!) and at the local level, where cities and towns are taking big steps forward. Seattle, for instance, is poised to start updating its Bicycle Master Plan to reflect breakthroughs in exciting new tools and engineering that weren’t around 5 years ago. It’s our best opportunity in the next decade to create an inspiring vision for bicycling in Seattle—hopefully a vision that will help lead the nation and lead us to action.
But, yes, we do focus on cities and Seattle quite often. (My bad—I live here and so do lots of our members.) How about smaller cities and towns?
Enter the second big report. Today, the Rails to Trails Conservancy released Active Transportation Beyond Urban Centers, which shows us that rates of bicycling and walking in smaller towns is surprisingly high. Towns with between 10,000 and 50,000 citizens see the same basic number of trips per capita as larger urban areas. This is important for many reasons, not the least is which is that accommodating and promoting bicycling isn’t an urban or rural thing, an eastside or westside thing, a red state or blue state thing—it’s the thing. Especially with all the recent talk about the need for job creation (bicycling projects create more jobs per dollar than just about any type of roadway project), accommodating and promoting bicycling should be front and center as an urgent priority for cities, states and our country. Period.
Enjoy the reports—they come with brief summaries if you’re in a hurry—and make sure to spread the insights!