Americans are walking or cycling to their destinations with renewed enthusiasm and frequency.
Today, approximately 50% of all trips under one mile and 10% of all trips of any length are made on foot or on bike.
However, with this increase in interest has come corresponding risk: pedestrian and cyclist injuries and fatalities have climbed steadily every year since 2009. In fact, in 2012, bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities were over 16% of all traffic-related fatalities, highly disproportionate to their numbers, and primarily in urban areas.
USDOT Calls for Safer People, Safer Streets
The rise in popularity and challenges in walking and cycling are among the key trends identified by Anthony R. Foxx, Secretary of the US Department of Traffic, in his forward-looking vision of an improved transportation system for. In the DOT’s draft of Beyond Traffic 2045, they predict a significant growth in walking and cycling in the next 30 years.
They note that metropolitan areas will burgeon and be higher density. That, combined with the Millennials’ lifestyle preferences for healthier and more environmentally sound activities, raises both opportunities and alarm.
Accommodating this simple form of transportation, and doing so safely, must become “an increasingly pressing issue for policymakers, particularly in urban areas,” the document urges.