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TOPIC I: RATES OF BIKING AND WALKING

Trends in Prevalence of Biking & Walking for All Trips

Data from the National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) suggests that bicycling has been relatively stable as a percentage of all trips in the United States. 1 Between 2009 and 2017, about 1% of all trips in the United States were taken by bicycle. This stands in contrast to commuting data, which suggests an increase in the proportion of workers who commute by bicycle. 2

FIGURE 1.1.1 – PERCENT OF ALL TRIPS BY WALKING OR BIKING

Over the same time, there was a statistically significant increase in walking trips as a percentage of all trips, increasing from 10.5% of all trips to 11.9% of all trips. This also stands in contrast to commuting data, which suggests a slight decrease in the proportion of workers who walk to work. 3

FIGURE 1.1.2 – BREAKDOWN OF DATA BY TRIPS, TIME, & DISTANCE

NHTS data on total trips, minutes, and distance of trips by bicycling and walking appear consistent with the data on mode share. The increase in walking trips is statistically significant. 4 Note: Changes to the methodology of the NHTS between 2009 and 2017 mean that changes in data should be interpreted with caution. 5

Trends in Rates of Bicycling & Walking for Commuting

Data on bicycling and walking to work comes from the U.S. Census Bureau. The decennial census reported on rates of bicycling and walking to work starting in 1980. 6

FIGURE 1.1.3 – PERCENTAGE OF WORKERS WHO PRIMARILY BIKE OR WALK TO WORK OVER TIME

After the 2000 decennial census, the Census Bureau began using a continuous survey that has become the American Community Survey (ACS). The ACS has provided yearly estimates of the rate of biking and walking to work since 2005. Since ACS data has allowed yearly tracking of rates of biking and walking to work, researchers and practitioners have gained valuable insights into changes in those rates over time.

At a national level, ACS data show that there has been an increase in the rate of commuting to work by bicycle. While the overall proportion of workers who bicycle to work remains low, the prevalence has increased approximately 50%, from .4% in 2005 to .6% in 2016. 7

Data from the Census Bureau shows considerable decreases in the proportion of workers who walk to work, from a high   of 5.6% in 1980 to a low of 2.5% in 2005. After a slight increase in 2006, the proportion has remained near 3%, with slight declines in recent years. 8

Number & Percent of People Biking to Work

FIGURE 1.1.4 – NUMBER & PERCENT OF PEOPLE BIKING TO WORK

Footnote 9

Number & Percent of People Walking to Work

FIGURE 1.1.5 – NUMBER & PERCENT OF PEOPLE WALKING TO WORK

Footnote 10

Bicycling Trips by Purpose, According to 2017 National Household Travel Survey

FIGURE 1.1.6 – BIKING TRIPS BY PURPOSE

Footnote 11

Walking Trips by Purpose, According to 2017 National Household Travel Survey

FIGURE 1.1.7 – WALKING TRIPS BY PURPOSE

Between the 2009 and 2017 NHTS, biking trips to “earn a living” increased from 12.7% of bicycling trips to 20.2% of bicycling trips. This may explain the increase in the rate of bicycle commuting found in ACS data that is not reflected in the unchanged prevalence of biking as a percent of all trips in the NHTS data.

1

For 2001 National Household Travel Survey data see The Alliance for Biking and Walking (2010). Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2010 Benchmarking Available at https://bikeleague.org/sites/default/files/2010BenchmarkingReport.pdf.

2

Ralph Buehler (2017). Analysis of National Household Travel Survey data for the League of American Bicyclists

3

Compare to Figure 1.1.2. Trends in Rates of Bicycling and Walking for Commuting.

4

Ralph Buehler (2017). Analysis of 2017 and 2009 National Household Travel Survey data for the League of American Bicyclists.

5

McGuckin and A. Fucci (2017). FHWA-PL-18-019. Summary of Travel Trends: 2017 National Household Travel Survey. Available at https://nhts. ornl.gov/assets/2017_nhts_summary_travel_trends.pdf.

6

U.S. Census Bureau. Means of Transportation to Work: 1990 and 1980 Decennial Census. Available at https://www2.census.gov/programs-surveys/com- muting/tables/time-series/journey/mode6790.txt.

7

U.S. Census Bureau (2006-2016). American Community Survey Tables B08006, S0801, C08006. Available at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/ jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

8

U.S. Census Bureau (2006-2016). American Community Survey Tables B08006, S0801, C08006. Available at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/ jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

9

U.S. Census Bureau (2006-2016). American Community Survey Tables B08006 1-year estimates. Available at https://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/ jsf/pages/index.xhtml.

10

Ralph Buehler (2017). Analysis of National Household Travel Survey data for the League of American Bicyclists

11

Ralph Buehler (2017). Analysis of National Household Travel Survey data for the League of American Bicyclists