As the U.S. Congress debates the next federal transportation bill, we're always excited to see the evidence keep mounting in support of the value of trails, walking and bicycling in communities of every size. The demand for active transportation facilities is nationwide, and use increases by the day, from bike-sharing programs to kids walking to school.
Another great perspective on active transportation came out a few days ago in Shareable magazine, where author Jay Walljasper argues that developing facilities to improve walking and biking options is a winning investment for everyone. "All Americans are better off," he writes, "because biking and walking foster improved public health (and savings in health care expenditures for households, businesses and government), stronger communities, less congestion, safer streets, lower energy use and a cleaner, safer environment."
These benefits truly touch everyone, including drivers, pedestrians and cyclists alike. "Even if you will never ride a bike in your life," writes Walljasper, "you still see benefits from increased levels of biking. More bicyclists mean less congestion in the streets and less need for expensive road projects that divert government money from other important problems. Off-road paths, bike lanes, sidwalks and other bike and ped improvements cost a fraction of what it takes to widen streets and highways."