Top 10 Facts About Bicycling and Walking in the U.S.

Posted 10/08/09 by Rails-to-Trails Conservancy in Policy

Photo CC "richardmasoner" via Flickr

RTC partner America Bikes recently came out with a list of the top ten facts about bicycling and walking in the United States. These intriguing facts may get the gears turning - on your bike and in your head. Some of these facts come from Active Transportation for America, a report released by RTC in October 2008. The full fact sheet, which includes citations, is listed in our Library.

  1. Bicycling and walking make up 10% of all trips made in the United States, but receive less than two percent of federal transportation funding.
  2. Bicyclists and pedestrians account for 13% of traffic fatalities, but receive less than one percent of federal safety funding.
  3. 40% of all trips in America are two miles or less, 74% of which are traveled by car.
  4. Americans spend, on average, 18% of their annual income for transportation. The average annual operating cost of a bicycle is 3.75% ($308) of an average car ($8,220).
  5. A small reduction in driving causes a large drop in traffic. In 2008, the number of vehicle miles travelled dropped 3%, translating to a nearly 30% reduction in peak hour congestion.
  6. Transportation sources account for 70% of our nation's oil consumption and for 30% of total U.S. GHG emissions.
  7. Simply increasing bicycling and walking from 10% of trips to 13% could lead to fuel savings of around 3.8 billion gallons a year. This is equivalent to having 19 million more hybrid cars on the road.
  8. 89% of Americans believe that transportation investments should support the goals of reducing energy use.
  9. 71% of Americans report that they would like to bicycle more. 53% favor increasing federal spending on bicycle lanes and paths.
  10. For the price of one mile of four‐lane urban highway, around $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.
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