Walking and Cycling in the United States, 2001-2009

AJPH Cover

John Pucher’s study on walking and cycling trends in the U.S. is now available online at the American Journal of Public Health website. The study is based upon data gathered from the National Household Travel Surveys. From the Abstract:

Objectives. To assess changes in walking and cycling in the United States between 2001 and 2009.

Results. The average American made 17 more walk trips in 2009 than in 2001, covering 9 more miles per year, compared with only 2 more bike trips, and 5 more miles cycling. At the population level, the prevalence of “any walking” remained unchanged (about 18%), whereas walking at least 30 minutes per day increased from 7.2% to 8.0%. The prevalence of “any cycling” and cycling 30 minutes per day remained unchanged (1.7% and 0.9%, respectively). Active travel declined for women, children, and seniors, but increased among men, the middle aged, employed, well-educated, and persons without a car.

According to the study, approximately 75% of pedestrian trips and 50% of biking trips in 2009 were for utilitarian purposes, with the remainder being for recreation. While the overall numbers are not encouraging, it is notable that the percentage of utilitarian versus recreational bicycle trips rose from 43% to 51% from 2001-2009.

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3 Responses to “Walking and Cycling in the United States, 2001-2009”

  • voyage says:

    You should be able to photocopy the hardcopy piece in a few weeks at your local medical school library for nominal (photocopy) cost. I’m glad that bikey things are getting into refereed medical and public health lit.

  • Jim says:

    I have this report and, to me, there are a couple of things that stand out: some data is from the USDOT and the funding is from the USDOT. I really can’t imagine how the USDOT has funding or staff to count cyclists, but regardless the following conclusion seems to go against all anecdotal evidence: “As shown in Table 4, most of the growth in cycling in the USA over the preceding decade has been among men. From 2001 to 2009, the percent of all bike trips in the USA made by women fell from 33% to 24%.”


  • Cullen says:

    I still think the “improved” statistics are still pretty low. I wonder if most potential cyclists/walkers view their method of transport as exercise rather that a utilitarian way to get from one place to another. If so, that mindset has to change.

    Appleton, WI

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