Active transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling. Strategies to expand and improve forms of active transportation include:
- Encourage Safe Routes to School programs to enable children to walk and bike to school safely.
- Construct a connected network of multi-use trails.
- Accommodate all roadway users with comprehensive street design measures such as “complete streets,” including sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and share-the-road signs that provide safe and convenient travel for all users of the roadway.
- Separate motor-vehicle traffic from non-motorized traffic with physical barriers, such as the construction of bicycle boulevards.
- Provide safe and convenient bicycle and pedestrian connections to public parks and recreation areas.
- Encourage bicycle parking at workplaces and transit stops.
- Encourage the development of street-level shopping and restaurants along pedestrian and bicycle routes. (Center for Disease Control and Prevention)
Increasing access and prioritizing development of active transportation like walking and cycling reduces a household’s reliance on single-occupancy vehicles and fossil-fuel dependent vehicles. It also has implications for public health including reduced cardiovascular risk and increased air quality.
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Choosing a bike over a car just once a day reduces an average citizen’s carbon emissions from transport by 67%.
Active commuting that incorporates cycling and walking is associated with an 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk.
A 5% increase in neighborhood walkability was associated with: 6.5% fewer vehicle miles traveled per capita, 5.6% fewer grams of nitrogen dioxide per capita, and 5.5% fewer grams of volatile organic compound emitted per capita.
Active Transportation and Environmental Justice
Designing towns and cities to include more active transportation infrastructure, especially in environmental justice areas, plays a key role in improving public health, climate action, and community wellbeing.