The States And Cities That Are Best For Getting To Work On Two Feet
Are we slowly seeing the death of the car commute? An exhaustive new report commissioned by the CDC looks at the progress the U.S. has made in encouraging walking and cycling.
There's been a big shift in how cities and states view cycling and walking. Having barely heard of a protected bike lane a few years ago, many are now putting in friendlier infrastructure and generally making bikers and pedestrians feel more valued.
Which city is the furthest ahead? You can get a sense from an exhaustive new report that ranks states and cities, commissioned by the CDC and coordinated by the Alliance for Biking & Walking, a coalition of advocacy groups. We picked out a few points here.
THE STREETS ARE GETTING SAFER
It may not always seem that way, but the data says so. Since 1980, the number of pedestrian fatalities has fallen from 3.6 per 100,000 people to 1.4, the report says. The cyclist-death rate has also fallen, from 0.4 per 100,000 people in 1980, to 0.2 in 2011.
Having said that, you're more likely to have an accident in some places than others. Among states, Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi had the highest pedestrian fatality rates (though Florida's numbers are down enough to make a dent nationally). Among cities, Jacksonville and Detroit had the highest numbers. For cyclists, Mississippi and Arkansas, and Fort Worth and Detroit, posed the greatest risks. And, you were least likely to die on a bike in Montana and Maine.
The report gives credence to the "safety-in-numbers" effect (which says more riders make roads safer). "In cities where a higher percent of commuters walk or bicycle to work, corresponding fatality rates are generally lower," it says.
ALASKANS COMMUTE THE MOST BY FOOT AND BIKE
That's right. Alaska tops the chart for commuting levels by biking and walking, and also for per-capita spending on pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Tennessee and Alabama come last for commuting levels; Maryland and New Jersey last for spending.
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