The Benchmarking Project uses a variety of data sources to provide information on bicycling and walking in the United States. This page is intended to provide an overview of those data sources.

Federal Data Sources

A longstanding objective of the Benchmarking Project has been to promote data collection and availability and one way that we attempt to further this objective is by making use of all available data on bicycling and walking from federal agencies. About two-thirds of the Figures found on this site are based on data from federal agencies and that data comes primarily from five sources:

The most used data source on is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, accessed through the Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST).

Data TypeCommon Abbreviation(s)MethodFrequencyLink
Traffic Fatality dataFARS, FIRSTData is compiled from police reports by each state and reflects deaths involving a motor vehicle on a public road that result in a death within 30 days of the crash.Updated yearly, typically with a two-year lag from the current year 

The second most used data source on is the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

Data TypeCommon Abbreviation(s)MethodFrequencyLink
Commuting data, Demographic dataACSData is from an annual survey of over 3.5 million householdsUpdated yearly, typically in the early Fall for 1-year estimates and by December for 5-year estimates 

We use three public health data sources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, the National Health Interview Survey, and the Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System, which provides data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program.

We use three data sources from the Federal Highway Administration, the National Household Travel Survey, Fiscal Management Information System, and the Strategic Highway Safety Plan Community of Practice.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics is an alternative source of information for several types of data published by the Federal Highway Administration, but also has its own data sets such as its interactive bikeshare and e-scooter data.

League of American Bicyclists Data Sources

The League of American Bicyclists (League) has long collected data on bicycling through its Bicycle Friendly America program. The Bicycle Friendly American program has four sub-programs: Bicycle Friendly Community, Bicycle Friendly State, Bicycle Friendly Business, and Bicycle Friendly University. primarily uses data from the League’s Bicycle Friendly Community and Bicycle Friendly State programs. These data are used where no public data source is available on the topic. All data reported from these programs are from self-reported surveys of communities that have applied for Bicycle Friendly Community recognition or states that were responsive to the Bicycle Friendly State survey.

The League also published information from our member database to show the existence of advocacy organizations throughout the nation.

Third Party Data Sources

There is a variety of data created or collected by organizations that are not the League of American Bicyclists or federal agencies that are useful for understanding bicycling and walking in the United States. Data from third-party sources used on is data that is publicly available directly from the sources and collected, maintained, and published by those sources. The League makes no effort to independently verify the data.

The availability of third-party data sources often changes over time. Each time a third-party data source is used, it will be referenced in the corresponding chart. A non-exhaustive list of third-parties whose data has been referenced on includes the National League of Cities, the National Complete Streets Coalition, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, People for Bikes, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Governors Highway Safety Association, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the Vision Zero Network, the Road to Zero Coalition, the Safe Routes National Partnership, the National Center for Safe Routes to School, and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

Primary Sources

There are several topics that are important to people interested in improving bicycling and walking that are not covered by federal data sources or first and third-party data sources. In those cases, the League often compiles primary sources. One example of this is our compilation of statewide pedestrian and bicycle master plans. When we rely on primary source data collection, we will publish links to those sources as retrieved at the time of collection.