Walking and bicycling rates double in California

Brother and sister walking - crosswalkA sea of change is underway in how Californians choose to travel. Since 2000, rates of walking, bicycling, and transit use doubled and the driving rate decreased 11% according to the California Household Travel Survey. A report on the comprehensive travel survey results was completed in June of 2013 but was just announced by Caltrans this week.

Walking rates jumped from 8.8% to 16.6%, bicycling rates increased from 0.8% to 1.5%, and transit use increased from 2.2% to 4.4% of mode share. All told, trips by foot, bicycle, or transit total nearly 23% of all trips statewide on an average day in California. This shift indicates the rising demand for transportation options in walkable and bikeable communities and accompanies a rising awareness of serious climate change, health, and equity challenges.”Demand data like this must inform transportation planning efforts and direct investments at the state level moving forward.” said National Partnership California advocacy organizer Jeanie Ward-Waller.

Despite need and rhetoric, funding is meager

According to Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty, “Based on this research, we can make good decisions about transportation that will improve mobility, air quality, and travel choices for all Californians and make our state a better place to live and work.” Yet, investments in walking and bicycling infrastructure continue to make up only 1% of transportation funding. And, in the 2014-15 budget year, with $1.7 billion in new revenue proposed for transportation including $850 million in Cap-and-Trade dollars, no significant new revenue is proposed to fund the Active Transportation Program or fund walking and bicycling projects through other programs. The State Transportation Improvement Program – the primary source of funding for capital projects – is almost entirely dedicated to highway expansion into 2019.

Read the Caltrans press release.

Read the full Caltrans report on the CA Household Travel Survey.

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