filed under: federal legislation
The Case for Increased Public Investment in Walking and Biking Connectivity
American communities today are at a crossroads. For the past 70 years, the automobile has been the dominant mode of transportation and has received the lion’s share of federal and state transportation investment. Engineers have prioritized maximum car throughput and free-flowing speed or level of service as markers of transportation efficiency and success. Now, communities across America are looking for ways to strike a better balance so that residents might have more transportation choices and a higher quality of life. Multimodal transportation systems that prioritize human-centered mobility are in high demand.
Active transportation is transforming America. Its benefits are far-reaching and bring powerful outcomes to every type of community, including connecting people to jobs and other opportunities, creating opportunities for people to be physically active and outdoors, and revitalizing economies and communities.
A modest public investment in completing trail and active transportation networks within and between communities will deliver myriad benefits to individuals and society and an annual economic return to the tune of $73.8 billion. These benefits include access to safe and seamless walking and biking routes; improved health and social connectivity; new opportunities for economic growth; and access to jobs, education and culture. In the substantial scenario, economic benefits nearly double to more than $138.5 billion annually.
We have a unique opportunity to realize these benefits while addressing pressing issues related to public health and chronic disease, climate change, and economic development through the lens of transportation justice and social equity. As shown in this report, over half of all trips taken in the United States are suitable for a short bike ride, and more than one in four are suitable for a short walk, making walking and biking both realistic and feasible transportation options. Americans are demanding safe places to walk and bike on a broad scale. Re-prioritizing local, state and federal policies in response to that demand will deliver an outsized return on investment by changing how Americans get around and facilitating vital communities and healthy people.
Published October 2019
The Recreational Trails Program directly addresses our desire to put young people to work, provide equitable access to nature, and provide resilient responses to natural disasters
A report on the use and benefits of Federal Recreational Trails Program funds across the United States.
The National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service is pleased to announce 48 funded projects.
This February and March, over 120 advocates virtually hiked the halls of Congress to call for action to protect and expand access for all to public lands and trails. These efforts, led by the Partnership for the National Trails System and American Hiking Society, developed a series of common messages and legislative priorities for the coming Federal fiscal year. We encourage all of our partners to download the Hike the Hill materials now to help build a common agenda for the entire trails community.