Issue Brief

Active Transportation Issue Brief

Region

National

NCEL Point of Contact

Ava Gallo
Climate and Energy Coordinator

Contact

Overview

Active transportation is any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation, such as walking or bicycling. 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. Choosing a bike over a car just once a day reduces an average individual’s carbon emissions from transport by 67%. Increasing modes of active transportation also has implications for public health. Active commuting that incorporates cycling and walking is associated with an 11% reduction in cardiovascular risk. Communities of color are less likely to have access to safe biking and walking infrastructure, despite being dependent on forms of active transportation for essential travel at higher rates than their white counterparts. For example, Chicago’s white neighborhoods have 50% more bike lanes than Black neighborhoods. Creating new bike lanes, walking paths, and other active transportation infrastructure in communities of color is critical to advancing environmental justice.

Legislation

All bills following two asterisks indicates bipartisan support for the legislation**

  • California S.B.99 (enacted 2013): Created the Active Transportation program to increase the proportion of trips accomplished by walking and biking, increase the safety and mobility of non-motorized users, and provide a broad spectrum of projects to benefit many types of users, including disadvantaged communities.
  • **Colorado H.B.22-1104 (enacted 2022): Allowed transmission providers to enter into contracts to construct and maintain public recreational trails covering transmission corridors.
  • Colorado S.B.22-193 (enacted 2022): Created the community access to electric bicycles grant program to award grant money to local governments, tribal governments, and nonprofit organizations that administer a bike share/ownership program and the community access to electric bicycles rebate program to provides individuals in low- and moderate-income households rebates for purchases of electric bicycles and equipment used for commuting purposes.
  • Connecticut S.B.4 (enacted 2022): Expanded electric vehicle rebate eligibility to electric bicycles to at least $500 per bicycle and with a priority to residents of environmental justice communities.
  • District of Columbia B.23-0288 (enacted 2020): Mandated that if a road segment undergoing construction has been pre-identified as a candidate for a protected bike lane, bus-only lane or private vehicle-free corridor, then it must be rebuilt with that new feature.
  • **Illinois H.B.0270 (enacted 2021): Mandated that the state cover 100% of the cost of walking and biking infrastructure on state roads.
  • New York A.8936A (passed both chambers 2022): Increases state funding for construction and improvements by the Department of Transportation where the municipality agrees to fund a complete street design feature as a component of the project.
  • New York S.7824 (enacted 2022): Required the Metropolitan Transit Agency to develop a strategic action plan to improve bicycle and pedestrian access at bridges, stations, and other facilities operated by the authority or its affiliates or subsidiaries.

Resources

NCEL Resources

Online Resources

Statewide Pedestrian and Bicycle Planning Handbook - The Department of Transportation

Go to resource
Making Strides - Safe Routes Partnership

This report, released by Safe Routes Partnership, track each state’s progress in supporting communities where people can easily be physically active.

Go to resource
Complete Streets Policies nationwide. - Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America has a resource on Complete Streets policies nationwide.

Go to resource
Mobility Solutions Toolkit - San Diego Association of Governments

The San Diego Association of Governments has a Mobility Solutions Toolkit to understand mobility and environmental justice.

Go to resource
The Open Streets Guide

Street Plans and the Alliance for Biking and Walking has an Open Streets Guide.

Go to resource
E-Bike Incentive Programs of North America Tracker

The Transportation Research and Education Center has a live E-Bike Incentive Programs in North America table to track e-bike purchase incentive programs in the United States and Canada.

Go to resource
Flowing river

Empower State Environmental Champions

Your donation funds the fight for equitable actions that protect the environment and our health.

Donate