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Walking and Cycling in America: Restoring “Forgotten” Modes of Transport
In the early 1990s, the U.S. DOT began focusing on encouraging cycling and walking, and the policy has paid off! Above: Bike and pedestrian lanes on Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Photo via Mark Stosberg.

In the early 1990s, the U.S. DOT began focusing on encouraging cycling and walking, and the policy has paid off. Above: Bike and pedestrian lanes on Hawthorne Bridge in Portland, Oregon. Photo via Mark Stosberg.

Hurray! Yesterday brought great news for sustainable transportation advocates.

On June 16, the Federal Highway Administration released its National Biking and Walking Study, analyzing trends in transportation over the past 20 years. Turns out, there is more federal funding for pedestrian and cycling projects, there are less fatalities, and, overall, there are more trips taken by bike or foot.

The report is the third update of a study originally published in 1994 with a long-term goal of reducing road fatalities and encouraging more people to walk or cycle.

In 1990, the Federal Highway Administration called walking and cycling “the forgotten modes” of transportation, and in 1994, the U.S. Department of Transportation adopted the first national transportation policy “to increase use of bicycling, and encourage planners and engineers to accommodate bicycle and pedestrian needs.” Federal pedestrian and bicycle funding increased dramatically over the following years:

Graphic via Federal Highway Administration

Graphic via Federal Highway Administration

Between 1990 and 2009,  the number of trips taken on foot more than doubled from 18 billion to 42.5 billion. And bike trips increased from 1.7 billion to 4 billion.

Americans are walking and cycling much more than we were 20 years ago. Graphic via Fastlane.dot.gov

Americans are walking and cycling much more than we were 20 years ago. Graphic via Fastlane.dot.gov

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