Who's Walking and Bicycling

Daily Travel Information

  • Less than 2 miles

    According to a national travel survey, about 40 percent of trips are shorter than two miles—about a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride.

    One in 12 U.S. households does not own an automobile (2009 National Household Travel Survey).
  • Approximately 13 percent of persons 15 or older do not drive (2009 NHTS).
  • There are 127 million walking trips and nine million bike trips in the U.S. every day (2009 NHTS).
  • According to a cross-sectional study of youths in Atlanta, young teens (ages 12 to 15) were 2.5 times more likely to walk if there was at least one recreational open space within a kilometer of home, and 2.6 times more likely to walk if there was a commercial destination within a kilometer of their home. Youth from households with two cars were 1.4 times more likely to report they walked compared with youth from households with 3 or more cars. Those from one-car households were 2.6 times more likely to walk (Frank, Kerr, Chapman, & Sallis, 2007).

Bicycling

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How many people walk or ride bikes?

A bicyclist pedals through an intersection in Charlotte, N.C.According to the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, 18 percent of the population age 16 or older, rode a bicycle at least once during the summer of 2012.

The 2009 National Household Travel Survey estimates that 11.9 percent of all trips in this country are done by walking or bicycling, up from 9.5 percent in 2001.

Why are the people bicycling?

The February 2003 Omnibus Survey conducted by the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) found that of the people riding bikes, the majority reported doing so for exercise/health (41 percent) and recreation (37 percent). Five percent reported commuting to work by bicycle as the primary use of the bicycle during the previous 30 days.

Those results differ slightly from the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors:

  • Reasons for Bicycling Percent
    Recreation 33
    Exercise or health 28
    Personal errands 17
    Visit a friend or relative 8
    Commuting to/from work 7
    Commuting to/from school 4

     

    Who is bicycling?

  • Bicycle Trips, as a percentage of all trips, By Age Percent
    5 to 15 3.2
    16 to 24 0.6
    25 to 39 0.6
    40 to 64 0.4
    65 and over 0.4
    All 0.9
    Source: Pucher and Renne. 2003. Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS.

    While trips by bicycle make up 1.2 percent of total trips made by men, bicycling accounts for only 0.5 percent of trips made by women (Pucher & Renne, 2003).

    Where are people bicycling?

  • Bicycle Trips, as a percentage of all trips, by region Percent
    New England 0.7
    Middle Atlantic 0.8
    East North Central 0.9
    West North Central 0.7
    South Atlantic 0.9
    East South Central 0.4
    West South Central 0.8
    Mountain 0.8
    Pacific 1.1
    Source: Pucher and Renne. 2003. Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS.
  • Facilities Used by Bicyclists, by percent Percent
    Paved roads 48.1
    Sidewalks 13.6
    Bicycle paths or walking paths/trails 13.1
    Shoulders of paved roads 12.8
    Bicycle lanes on paved roads 5.2
    Unpaved roads 5.2
    Other 2.1
    Source: The 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors.

    How far do people generally bicycle?

    According to the 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, the average length of a bicycling trip taken on a typical day during the summer was 65.2 minutes.

  • Trip Lengths, by percent Percent
    0-30 minutes 42
    31-60 minutes 36
    61-120 minutes 15
    121 minutes or longer 7
    Average Trip 65.2 minutes
    Source: The 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, Highlights Report.

     

    Walking

    Pedestrians walk along the sidewalk in Charlotte, N.C.In the 2005 Traveler Opinion and Perception Survey (TOP), conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, about 107.4 million Americans use walking as a regular mode of travel. This translates to approximately 51 percent of the traveling public.

    On average, these 107.4 million people used walking for transportation (as opposed to for recreation) three days per week.

    According to the 2009 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), there are an estimated 42 billion walking trips nationwide every year. To put this statistic in perspective, Americans take a total of about 388 billion annual trips. Walking trips, thus, make up roughly 10.9 percent of all trips.

    The NHTS also found that walking trips were more likely to occur for social and recreation trip purposes (25 percent) and less likely for work purposes (5.8 percent). Walking trips also accounted for 4.9 percent of all trips to school and church and 11.4 percent of shopping and service trips.

    The 2005 American Community Survey (by the U.S. Census Bureau) estimated that 3.29 million people used walking as their primary mode of travel for their journey to work each week.

    Why are people walking?

  • Reasons for Walking Percent
    Exercise or health 39
    Personal Errands 17
    Recreation 15
    Walk the dog 7
    Visit a friend or relative 7
    Commuting to/from work 5
    Commuting to/from school 3
    Required for my job 2
    Source: The 2012 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, Highlights Report.

    Who is walking?

  • Walking Trips, as a percentage of all trips, By Age Percent
    5 to 15 15.2
    16 to 24 9.3
    25 to 39 9.2
    40 to 64 7.8
    65 and over 8.9
    Source: Pucher and Renne. 2003. Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS.

    Researchers found a similar split amongst the percentage of males and females walking: 9.9 percent of all trips conducted by females were walking trips, while 9.3 percent of all trips by men involved walking as the primary mode of transport (Pucher & Renne, 2003).

    Where are people walking?

  • Walking Trips, as a percentage of all trips, by region Percent
    Middle Atlantic 15.8
    Pacific 10.6
    New England 10.3
    West South Central 6.3
    East South Central 6.0
    Source: Pucher and Renne. 2003. Socioeconomics of Urban Travel: Evidence from the 2001 NHTS.

    What facilities do pedestrians use?

  • Facilities Used by Pedestrians, by percent Percent
    Sidewalks 45.1
    Paved roads, no shoulder 24.8
    Shoulders of paved roads 8.4
    Unpaved roads 8.0
    Paths or trails 5.8
    Grass or fields 4.9
    Other 3.0

     

    How far do people generally walk?

  • Trip Lengths, by percent Percent
    .25 miles or less 26.9
    0.26 to 0.5 miles 19.6
    0.51 to 1 mile 20.7
    1.1 to 2 miles 18.0
    More than 2 miles 14.8
    Source: 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian and Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors, Highlights Report