Benefits of Bicycling and Walking
There are many benefits to bicycling and walking:
“Walkability” is a hot concept in city planning. Many urban areas are trying very hard to become more walkable so as to attract new residents and revitalize their downtown areas. Many people are moving back into urban areas to be near cultural, employment, and other attractions, and to reduce the time and cost spent driving everywhere. Even real estate prices are starting to reflect walkability, and the most walkable cities in America are often the most desirable to live.
The provision of bicycle and pedestrian facilities in urban and suburban areas not only can and do reduce pedestrian and cycling fatalities and injuries, but also allow people to bike or walk for many of their shorter trips, and thus also obtain healthful exercise in the course of daily life.
According to the League of American Bicyclists, regions that have invested in bicycling have seen a beneficial impact on their economies. Studies have shown that bicycle industry and bicycle tourism can boost local employment levels and economic activity. Additionally, a survey by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration revealed that less than half of those surveyed were satisfied by how their communities were designed for bicycling, and that there is a substantial demand for additional bicycle facilities. The most popular changes for bicyclists indicated by this survey were additional bike lanes, paths, and trails, followed by improvements to existing facilities.
A good summary of the benefits of bicycling can be found online at the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.