Alliance for Biking & WalkingThe Alliance for Biking & Walking just released their 2012 Benchmarking Report, which describes the data that they have collected and analyzed across all 50 states and 51 of the largest cities in the country on safety, infrastructure, habits, policies, education and the economic impact of bicycling and walking. The report is a great resource to help efforts in your local community to improving the infrastructure for people to move under their own power.

One of the most disturbing stats that I saw on a quick glance through the report is that 40% of the time, Americans are traveling less than 2 miles. However, 62% of the trips that were less than a mile were by car, and 87% of the trips between 1 and 2 miles! Sure, sometimes you need to carry a lot of groceries home, or the weather is bad you’re afraid that you’ll melt. I can understand that. But if it’s a nice day and you’re just going to visit a friend down the road, or if you live close to where you work, why not walk?

Economically, bicycling and pedestrian related projects will normally create between 11 and 14 jobs per $1 million spent, compared to 7 jobs created for highway projects. Despite cost/benefit analyses showing that every dollar spent can result in $11.80 in benefits, states are spending less than 2% of their federal transportation dollars on projects that will encourage people to commute under their own power. That’s just one of the reasons that biking and walking levels are down 66% since 1960 and is probably a contributing factor to a growth of 156% in obesity levels. In fact, between 1966 and 2009, the number of kids walking or biking to school went down by 75% and the percentage of fat and overweight kids has increased by 276%.

Did you know that 6 of the 10 states with the highest levels of biking and walking also have the lowest levels of bicycle or pedestrian fatality rates in traffic accidents? On top of that, in 7 of the 10 states where you are most likely to die in a traffic accident from getting hit by a car you’ll also find the fewest number of fellow bikers and walkers.

Maine is one of the better states to live in if you enjoy moving under your own power, which just gives me one more reason to be happy that I live in Vacationland all year. How does your state rank? You can find out by checking out the report at: People Powered

Leave a comment below and let me know how you rank where you live.