Human-centered Mobility Principles (2018)

American communities are at a crossroads. Transportation and related land use decisions are central to building healthy places for healthy people. The past decade has seen a notable rise in demand and opportunities for people to walk and bike, shared cars and bikes have quickly become a staple of metropolitan life, and many cities are now growing substantially around walkable neighborhoods and transit access. Small towns and rural communities are also seeking ways to increase walking and biking, largely for economic and health reasons. Auto-centric community design is still the norm, but we are seeing more exceptions to the rule and newfound willingness to address tough issues, like speed management and parking requirements. Further, communities are now beginning to grapple with potentially disruptive technologies, such as automated vehicles, which could support or undercut trends favoring human-centered mobility.

McKelvey Park | Photo by Mark Lehmann

The Partnership for Active Transportation has developed these shared principles to guide our collective and individual work to shape mobility and community design choices facing our society by putting people and places first.

1. Safety

The Partnership supports a comprehensive strategy that incentivizes prioritizing traffic safety at all levels of government to systematically reduce and eliminate causes of serious injuries and fatalities. A Vision Zero strategy should include people traveling by all modes, with special attention to addressing rising fatalities among vulnerable pedestrians and bicyclists.

2. Streets are public space

Roads claim a large share of publicly-owned land in cities. Reclaiming street space for people, including active transportation, is one of the best ways to improve quality of life, including public health, safety, the environment and aesthetics.

3. Public engagement and equity

How decisions are made matters greatly. Transportation decisions are among the most challenging issues communities face, and with good reason given the stakes for quality of life. Mobility and land use decisions create winners and losers, and historically have been used to divide and disadvantage certain neighborhoods. Governments should work with communities to alleviate discriminatory circumstances related to transportation and land use.

4. Data

Open data can help to ensure public benefits by providing accountability and enabling innovation. Yet, much data related to emerging mobility technologies is being treated as confidential business information; a matter for competition.

5. Affordability

Walking, bicycling, and public transit are affordable transportation options that provide essential mobility for low-income families. Absence of safe, connected walking and bicycling conditions and under-investment in public transit services force many low-income families to purchase and maintain a private vehicle to keep a job, attend school, and meet daily needs. The average cost of owning and operating a car in the U.S. is $8,469/year [AAA]. In addition, local state, and federal governments spend several thousand dollars per household per year to construct, maintain, and operate roadways.

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An Active Transportation Agenda for the Trump Administration (2016)

undefinedBalanced transportation systems are fundamental to healthy communities. A strong economy and high quality of life depend on safe and easy access for all residents to jobs, schools, transit, shops, services, places of worship, parks and playgrounds, and friends and family. Public health is improved by providing a built environment that facilitates routine physical activity. Investing in networks of infrastructure that enable walking and bicycling—or active transportation—is critical to providing transportation systems that meet everyone’s needs, regardless of whether they drive, and to increase mobility, improve access for people with disabilities, spur economic development and promote healthy practices.

We are urging the Trump Administration to enact policies that:

  • Connect people to important destinations—such as jobs, schools, transit, health care and parks—and opportunities for healthy physical activity.

  • Fuel economic development, attract tourists, reduce health-care costs and aim to eliminate traffic deaths, particularly among pedestrians and bicyclists.

  • Concentrate on meeting the needs of people who do not drive, such as many low-income individuals, people living with disabilities, seniors and children.

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Safe Routes to Everywhere (2014)

Safe Routes to EverywhereAmericans need safe routes to walk and bicycle, and such active transportation networks connecting community destinations are critical to making it safe and practical to routinely walk and bicycle. Supporting active transportation should be a national priority because it provides affordable mobility, promotes public health through physical activity and cleaner air, and creates jobs and community vitality. To realize these benefits to the nation, we call on the federal government to:

  • Increase federal investment dedicated to safe active transportation networks;

  • Use innovative financing to leverage the private value of infrastructure to stretch limited public dollars and accelerate projects; and

  • Integrate health concerns into transportation decisions, and active transportation opportunities into health policies.

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American Public Health Association

America Walks


Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Urban Land Institute

About The Partnership

We're a broad-based coalition of nonprofit, for-profit and public sector entities working together to create healthier places for healthier people by supporting increased public investment in walking and bicycling as essential modes of transportation.

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