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Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook (2014)

Chapter: Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 2 - Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2014. Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/22330.
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13 Perhaps the best place to start when approaching bicycle and pedestrian planning is to gain an understanding of the basic parameters of bicycle and pedestrian travel: • How much do people walk or bike? • How far do they travel? • Why do they travel? • Which segments of the population walk or bike the most? Below are basic statistics on walking and biking in the United States; unless otherwise noted, these are taken from the most recent National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), conducted in 2009. These profiles are summarized in the guidebook in order to provide users with a quick basic under- standing. Readers wanting more detail on these relationships should consult Appendix 4 of the Contractor’s Final Report. 2.1 Walking and Bicycling Activity Levels In terms of overall pedestrian and bicycle activity • U.S. households generated 48.6 billion annual walking trips and 4.1 billion annual bicycle trips in 2009. Table 2-1 illus- trates the frequency of walking and biking on a weekly basis. • On average, 68% of all people made at least one walking trip during the past week, and 24% averaged at least one per day. However, this implies that a substantial proportion – 32% – did not make even one walking trip in the previous week. For those making at least one trip, the average number of trips made per week is 4.8; for all travelers, the average is 3.2. • Activity levels for bicycling are much less: 87% of all people made no trips by bicycle in the previous week, and only 2% averaged one or more trips per day. For those making at least one bicycle trip, the average number of trips made is 3.1; for all travelers, the average is only 0.4. • In terms of mode share, walking accounts for 11.8% of all daily person trips, and bike accounts for slightly more than 1 percent. • Of the 11.8% of overall trips made by walking, 2.5% were specifically for accessing transit, accounting for 15.6% of all walk trips. Unfortunately, equivalent survey informa- tion on bicycle access to transit was insufficient to allow an estimate of its magnitude. Trends over Time Table 2-2 shows that rates of walking and bicycling have held fairly steady over the 30-plus years that the NHTS has included them as modes in the survey. The percentage of trips made by walking in 1977 exclusive of trips to access transit was 9.3% (walk access trips were blended into the transit trip in the ear- lier surveys) and stands at 8.7% in 2009. Bicycle use suggests a slight increase, from 0.7% in 1977 to about 1% in 2009. Focusing on use of walk or bicycle for travel to work, walk- ing has fallen from 7.4% of all trips in the 1970 Census Journey to Work (JTW) to 2.9% in the 2000 Census JTW. Because the Census ceased collecting JTW data after the 2000 decennial Census, the 2009 NHTS provides the most recent estimate, suggesting that the share is still about 2.9%. Bicycling to work was measured at 0.5% of all trips in the 1980 Census JTW, and 0.4% in the 2000 JTW. However, the 2009 NHTS places the bicycle share at 0.9%, which—although not a large num- ber and taken from a different data source—may reflect an increase in the use of biking for travel to work. Use of bicycle or walking for travel to school (children under 18) shows a pronounced downward trend for walking, from 22.5% in 1977 to 9.5% in 2009, but only a 0.3 percentage point decline for bicycle use over the same period (Table 2-3). 2.2 The Role of Distance in Non-Motorized Travel Distance is a limiting factor for travel by any mode, but is much more so for non-motorized modes, particularly for walking. The average one-way distance for all walk trips in the C H A P T E R 2 Fast Facts about Walking and Bicycling

14 NHTS is 0.7 miles (and 15 minutes of travel time); for bike travel, average one-way distance is 2.3 miles (19.4 minutes of travel time). Many factors affect how far or how long people are willing to walk or bike, such as the purpose of the trip, the quality of attrac- tions to be reached, how easily and directly trip ends can be reached over the travel network; characteristics of the individual traveler (e.g., age, income, gender, and driver’s license), the pres- ence of hills, difficult crossings, and concerns about safety; and even such factors as weather and daylight/darkness. The impor- tance of these factors is explored in greater detail in Chapter 3. A key relationship derived from the study of non-motorized travel behavior is that the value (or utility) of a potential des- tination not only declines with greater distance, but does so at a non-linear rate of decay, constituting what is referred to as a distance-decay rate. The relationship that best reflects the decline in utility is the negative exponential of distance—or travel time—where the initial fall off is very steep and then tapers off. Using readily available data from the Metropolitan Wash- ington Council of Governments 2007/08 regional travel survey (done as part of the NHTS), these relationships can be clearly illustrated. Figures 2-1 and 2-2 show the pattern of decline in walking trips in relation to trip distance and travel time, while Figures 2-3 and 2-4 show the same relationships for bicycle trips. These figures reveal the following: • Walk trips are often short: 25% of all walk trips are 0.1 mile or less, half are 0.3 miles or less, and three-quarters Number Trips Made Last Week Walk Bike None 32% 87% 1 6 4 2 10 3 3 10 2 4 6 1 5 8 1 6 3 0.4 7 11 1 8+ 13 0.8 Avg for those making at least 1 trip 4.8 3.1 Avg for all travelers 3.2 0.4 Table 2-1. Percent of travelers by number of walk or bike trips made in past week. Table 2-2. Trends in bicycling, walking, and transit mode shares, 1969–2009. Travel Mode 1969/70 1977 1980 1983 1990 1995 2000/01 2009 All trip purposes (Source: NPTS/NHTS Surveys) Bicycle n/a 0.7% — 0.8% 0.7% 0.9% 0.9% 1.0% Walk only n/a 9.3 — 8.5 7.2 5.4 8.6 a a8.7 Transitb 3.2% 2.6 — 2.2 2.0 1.8 1.6 1.9 Work purpose trips (Source: Decennial Census Journey to Work) Bicycle n/a — 0.5% — 0.4% — 0.4% 0.9% Walk only 7.4% — 5.6 — 3.9 — 2.9 2.9 Transit 8.9 — 6.4 — 5.3 — 4.7 4.0 Source: Data for work trip purpose calculated from decennial Census Journey to Work for years 1970, 1980, 1990 and 2000. The 2009 values have been es mated using the 2009 NHTS Notes: a. Increase reflects new efforts to capture previously unreported walk trips. b. Transit shares are included as an approxima on of the substan ve walks that occur in connec on with access to transit. Table 2-3. Bicycle and walking mode shares for child transportation to school, 1969–2009. Travel Mode 1969 1977 1983 1990 1995 2001 2009 Bicycle n/a 1.0% 0.5% 1.0% 1.1% 0.8% 0.7% Walk n/a 22.5 14.5 18.2 10.6 12.1 9.5 Total NMT 40.7% 23.5% 15.0% 19.2% 11.7% 12.9% 10.2% Source: NPTS results for 1969, 1977, 1983, 1990, and 1995; and NHTS results for 2001 and 2009; all except 2009 as reported in Moudon, Stewart, and Lin (2010). Notes: Includes children ages 5 to 18.

Figure 2-1. Walk trips by distance (2007/08 MWCOG Regional Travel Survey). 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% .0 .5 1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 Pe rc en to fT rip sW hi ch Ar e Lo ng er Th an Trip Length in Miles Figure 2-2. Walk trips by travel time (2007/08 MWCOG Regional Travel Survey). 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Pe rc en to fT rip sW hi ch Ar e Lo ng er Th an Travel Time in Minutes Figure 2-3. Bicycle trips by distance (2007/08 MWCOG Regional Travel Survey). 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 Pe rc en to fT rip sW hi ch Ar e Lo ng er Th an Travel Distance in Miles

16 are one-half mile or less. Overall, 90% of all walk trips are 1 mile or less. • For bicycle trips, 25% are 0.8 miles or less, 50% are 1.7 miles or less, and 75% are 4 miles or less. Overall, 90% of bicycle trips are 8 miles or less. • Although the differences in distance coverage are not sur- prising given a roughly 3-to-1 speed advantage for bicycle travel over walking, cyclists are willing to expend additional travel time: 25% of walk trips are less than 3 minutes in duration, compared to 10 minutes for bike; 50% are up to 8 minutes compared to 15 minutes for bike; and 75% are up to 15 minutes compared to 30 minutes for bike. When 90% of all trips are considered, up to 20 minutes are invested for walk trips versus 60 minutes for bike trips. Apparently cyclists not only travel farther, but are willing to commit more time to their travel than pedestrians. How- ever, before any strong conclusions can be taken from this set of comparisons it must be recognized that these distributions do not control for trip purpose, the relationships with which are explored in the following section. 2.3 Walking and Biking by Trip Purpose Figure 2-6 shows the popularity of walking or biking for particular trip purposes. The most common purpose for walk- ing or biking is “Other Social/Recreational” travel, which accounts for almost half (47.3%) of all bike trips and 35.4% of all walk trips. After Other Social/Recreational travel, the most frequent purposes for walking are Other Family/ Personal Business (21.5%), Shopping (14.7%), Visiting Friends & Relatives (8.7%), and School/Religious (8.6%). Travel To/ From Work accounts for only 4.5% of all walk trips. The most popular trips for biking after Other Social/Recreational are Visiting Friends & Relatives (13%), travel to Work (10.9%), Shopping (9.8%), Other Family/Personal Business (8.2%), and School/Religious (6%). Before these relationships are used to assess the potential for walking or biking in a plan or project, the following quali- fications should be considered: First, the trip purpose definitions established by NHTS and used in these figures might be misleading in important ways. They attempt to characterize typical travel activity purposes, but several are a roll-up of many sub-purposes presumed to be related. In the notes for Figure 2-5, the assumptions of what is included in each primary purpose definition are listed. Particu- larly in the case of Other Social/Recreational and Other Family/ Personal Business, various activities are contained in each and some similar activities (e.g., dining out). For both of these pur- pose groups, it is difficult to distinguish between travel purely for exercise/recreation and travel that has a utilitarian purpose. For example, “recreation/exercise” is included under Social/ Recreational, but it may either consist of traveling to a “place” for exercise (e.g., gym or sports facility) or the travel by walking or biking is itself the exercise medium. Similarly, under Family/ Personal Business, pet care (primarily dog walking) accounts for almost one-third of all walk trips in this major category. Second, the profile suggested by the walk and bicycle use patterns in Figure 2-5 is effectively a “snapshot” of how these modes are being used in the United States today. The finding that a fairly high share of domestic walking and biking trips are for recreation and exercise stands in sharp contrast to the experience in Europe, where walking and bicycling for utili- Figure 2-4. Bicycle trips by travel time (2007/08 MWCOG Regional Travel Survey). 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 Pe rc en t o f T rip s W hi ch A re L on ge r T ha n Travel Time in Minutes

17 tarian purposes is much more common. Although exercise and recreation are certainly important in relation to health benefits, the market for increasing non-motorized travel in the United States is more likely to come from daily family and personal needs. Figure 2-6 illustrates how trips for these various purposes vary by average trip length. The longest trips for both walk- ing and cycling are those for travel to work and work-related business. The shortest trips are those for shopping, family/ personal business, and visiting friends and relatives. The Other Social/Recreational category has above-average trip lengths for both modes, a result that may be driven by the high proportion of recreation/exercise trips in this category. 2.4 Who Walks and Bikes? The NHTS also provides information to characterize the types of people who currently walk or bicycle. Matching pedestrian/bicycle trip-making from the survey with the characteristics of the individuals making those trips begins to convey a sense of the characteristics (e.g., age, gender, income, vehicle ownership, education, and race/ethnicity) associated with the walking and biking populations. However, these profiles represent a snapshot of non-motorized travel in the United States today, but different policies and trends may result in very different profiles of users in the future. With these points in mind, the following characteristics describe current non-motorized travelers: • Age: As seen in Figure 2-7, the highest rates of walking and biking occur among children, aged 5 to 15, most of whom are not permitted to drive until age 16. Among walkers, the next most active age group is adults aged 25 to 34 years. Walking rates then remain stable until age 65 and then decline. Walk- ing to transit peaks in the 16 to 24 year age group, and then steadily declines. For biking among adults, rates remain fairly stable across all age groups, and then decline after age 55. • Gender: Figure 2-7 shows that differences in gender are most pronounced for bicycling, where males are two to four times more likely to make a bicycle trip than females in all age Figure 2-5. Frequency of walk or bicycle trips by trip purpose. 4.5 1.7 8.6 14.7 21.5 0.9 1.9 8.7 35.4 1.4 0.8 10.9 1.8 6 9.8 8.2 0.2 2.1 13 47.3 0.1 0.8 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 To/From Work Work-Related Businessa School/Religiousb Shoppingc Other Family/Personal Businessd Medical/Dental Vaca†one Visit Friends/Rela†vesf Other Social/Recrea†onalg Other Refused, N/A Percent of all Trips by Mode Walk Bicycle Source: 2009 NHTS Notes: a. Work-related business: Aend business meeng; other work-related acvity; return to work b. School/Religious: To & from school, school related; religious acvity; school/religious acvity c. Shopping: Shopping/errands; buy groceries, clothing, hardware; buy gas for car d. Other Family/Personal Business: Includes day care; transport someone/something; acquire personal or professional services; pet care/dog walk, aend civic meeng/event; get/eat meals/coffee/ snacks; aend social event, wedding/funeral e. Vacaon: Formal vacaon; rest and relaxaon f. Visit Friends & Relaves: Purely visitaon g. Other Social/Recreaonal: Includes social/recreaonal, exercise (including walking and jogging), play sports, go out for entertainment,visit public place, eat meal, social event, get/eat meal, coffee/snacks

18 groups. For walking, males walk at higher rates in the young- est age groups – 5 to 15, and 16 to 24 – while females walk at similar or slightly higher rates in all other age groups; a simi- lar relationship is seen in the use of walking to access transit. • Income: Walking appears to be linked to income. Figure 2-8 shows that travelers in the lowest income category make 16.9% of their trips by walking and another 4.8% of their trips to access transit. This share declines to 8.9% for people with incomes between $40,000 and $99,000, and then rises with incomes more than $100,000. Bicycling is more con- sistent across income classes, with the highest rate of 1.3% in the $20,000 to $39,000 class, declining to 0.9% in the $75,000 to $99,000 range, and 1.1% for all other groups. • Vehicle Ownership: The number of vehicles owned by a household and the availability of those vehicles to house- hold drivers strongly impact rates of walking, although the impacts on biking are much less. Figure 2-9 states that in households that do not own any vehicles, 41% of daily trips Figure 2-6. Average trip length by purpose. 0.98 1.07 0.6 0.56 0.5 0.7 0.81 0.6 0.84 1.18 0.84 3.79 3.27 1.62 1.33 1.4 2.22 2.42 1.04 2.61 2.29 2.71 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 To/FromWork Work Related Business School/Religious Shopping Other Family/Personal Business Medical/Dental Vacaon Visit Friends/Relaves Other Social/Recreaonal Other Refused, N/A Trip distance in miles Walk Bicycle Source: 2009 NHTS Figure 2-7. Percentage of daily trips made by walking or bicycle by age and gender. 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 5–15 16–24 25–34 35–44 45–54 55 64 >65 Pe rc en to fP er so ns M ak in g a Da ily Tr ip Age Male Walk Only Female Walk Only Male Walk to Transit Female Walk to Transit Male Bicycle Female Bicycle

19 are made by walking, 9% by walking to transit and 3% by bicycle. If only one vehicle is owned, the walk trip rate drops to 13%, walk to transit drops to 2%, and bike drops to 1%. If more than two vehicles are owned, the walk rate drops to 7%, while the bike rate remains at 1%. • Vehicle Demand: If one accounts for the availability of vehi- cles in terms of vehicles per household driver, Figure 2-10 shows that households with fewer vehicles than drivers aver- age 12.3% of their trips by walking and 1.6% by bicycle, whereas when the number of vehicles equals or exceeds the number of drivers, the walk rate drops to 7% and bicycle rate drops to 0.8%. The decline of rates of walk to transit is even more precipitous: from 3.1% where drivers outnumber vehicles to 0.1% when there are more vehicles than drivers. • Education: As seen in Figure 2-11, the highest rates of walking are among people who did not finish high school (16.7%) (which includes trips to transit), while the low- est rates are for those with either a high school diploma or who have competed some college (about 10%), after which the rates increase to 11.2% for those who have attained a bachelor’s degree, and about 14% for those with post-graduate education. A similar relationship exists for bicycle use across the five education categories, though at much lower rates. For more detail on these and other relationships describ- ing the characteristics of persons who walk or bicycle, please consult Appendix 4 of the Contractor’s Final Report. Figure 2-8. Percentage of daily person trips by mode and income. 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% 16% 18% Less than $20,000 $20,000 to $39,999 $40,000 to $74,999 $75,000 to $99,999 $100,000 and over Pe rc en to fD ai ly Pe rs on Tr ip s Annual Household Income Walk only Walk To/From Transit Bicycle Source: 2009 NHTS Figure 2-9. Percent of daily trips made by walking or biking by number of household vehicles owned. Source: 2009 NHTS 0% 5% 10% 15% 20% 25% 30% 35% 40% 45% None 1 2 3 or more Pe rc en t o f D ai ly P er so n Tr ip s Number of Household Vehicles Walk-only Walk to transit Bicycle

20 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% Less than High School Graduate High School Graduate, includes GED Some College or Associate Degree (Vocaonal) Bachelor’s Degree (BA, AB, BS) Graduate or Professional Degree Pe rc en to fD ai ly Pe rs on Tr ip s Highest Grade Completed/Degree Earned Walk only Walk To/From Transit Bicycle Source: 2009 NHTS Figure 2-11. Percentage of daily person trips by mode and education level. Figure 2-10. Percentage of daily person trips by mode and household vehicle availability. 0% 2% 4% 6% 8% 10% 12% 14% <1 1 >1 Pe rc en to fD ai ly Pe rs on Tr ip s Household Vehicles per Driver Walk only Walk To/From Transit Bicycle Source: 2009 NHTS

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TRB’s National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 770: Estimating Bicycling and Walking for Planning and Project Development: A Guidebook contains methods and tools for practitioners to estimate bicycling and walking demand as part of regional-, corridor-, or project-level analyses.

The products of the research include a guidebook for practitioners on a range of methods for estimating bicycling and walking activity and a CD-ROM containing a GIS Walk Accessibility Model, spreadsheets, and the contractor’s final report, which documents the research and tools that operationalize the methods described in the guidebook.

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