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Fact Sheets : Walking by the Numbers

How many people walk?
Why DO people walk?
Why DON'T people walk?
How many pedestrians are killed and injured each year?
Who is involved in pedestrian crashes?
What is the economic cost of crashes involving pedestrians?
How safe do people feel walking?
FHWA Obligations for Bicycle and Pedestrian projects
Support for Bicycling and Walking

*To read more about putting these numbers and statistics in perspective, click here.


How many people walk?


In an estimation for the 2000 United States Census, the percentage of journeys to work by foot was reported at 2.93 percent, or 3,758,982 workers 16 years and over, walking to work.*
http://factfinder.census.gov/

* Data are based on a sample and are subject to sampling variability.

These numbers are lower than those for the 1990 census when 3.90 percent of workers 16 years and over, or 4,488,886 people, walked to work:
http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/journey/usmode90.txt

The 1995 Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey, which covers trips of all kinds, 5.4 percent of trips were by walking. This represents 56 million daily walk trips covering 20 billion miles for the year. 
http://www-cta.ornl.gov/npts/1995/Doc/trends_report.pdf

Note - Data from the 2001 National Household Travel survey is available at
http://www.bts.gov/nhts/index.html

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Why do people walk?


The Nationwide Personal Transportation Survey in 1995 reports the following trip purposes:

 
Personal/Family business: 43%
compared to 45.9% for all modes

Social/Recreational: 34%
compared to 24.9% for all modes

School/church/civic: 14%
compared to 8.8% for all modes

Earning a living: 7%
compared to 20.3% for all modes

Note - Data from the 2001 National Household Travel survey is available at
http://www.bts.gov/nhts/index.html



The Omnibus Survey completed for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in February 2003 http://www.bts.gov/omnibus/household/2003/february/index.html
asked all respondents for what purpose they walk, run, or jog.

Primarily for what purpose did you walk, run, or jog?


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Why don't people walk?


According to the 2002 National Survey of Pedestrian & Bicyclist Attitudes and Behaviors
Reports one in five adults age 16 or older have either never walked or had not walked during a thirty-day period in the summer of 2002. The Survey sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reported that the number one reason for not walking is that respondents were either too busy or did not have the opportunity to walk.
http://www.walkinginfo.org/survey2002.htm

Reasons for Not Walking



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How many pedestrians are killed and injured each year?


In 2001, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/ncsa/tsf2001/2001pedfacts.pdf reported that 4882 pedestrians were killed in crashes with motor vehicles and 78,000 were injured. These numbers represent almost 12 percent of the total number of people killed and 3 percent of those injured in traffic crashes.


The number of fatalities and injuries in recent years has been:

               Fatalities   Injuries
 1990    - - -    6,482
        - - - -
 1991    - - -    5,801         - - - -
 1992    - - -    5,549
        - - - -
 1993    - - -    5,649         - - - -
 1994    - - -    5,489         - - - -
 1995    - - -    5,584        84,000
 1996    - - -    5,449        82,000
 1997    - - -    5,321        77,000
 1998    - - -    5,228        69,000
 1999    - - -    4,906
       85,000
 2000    - - -    4,739
       78,000
 2001    - - -    4,882        78,000

 
Note - a significant number of pedestrian crashes requiring emergency room treatment are not included in these reported fatalities and injuries.

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Who is involved in pedestrian crashes?


In 2001, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of pedestrians killed in crashes with motor vehicles were male. Most fatalities occurred in urban areas (69%) at nonintersection locations (79%), in normal weather conditions (90%), and at night (64%). More than one fifth of all traffic fatalities for the 5-9 age group (22%) and almost one fifth for the the 0-4 age group (19%) were pedestrians.
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/pdf/nrd-30/ncsa/tsf2001/2001pedestrian.pdf


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What is the economic cost of crashes involving pedestrians?



Pedestrian Fatality
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that the comprehensive cost of each person killed in a traffic crash is $2,900,000 (2000 dollars). Multiplying this number by the 4882 pedestrians killed in 2001 totals $14.6 billion. (explanation of calculation)

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov//////legsregs/directives/techadvs/t75702.htm


Pedestrian Injury
A 1991 study, The Costs of Highway Crashes by the Urban Institute and Federal Highway Administration, calculated the average nonfatal injury cost per person involved in a motor vehicle crash. In 2000 dollars, the average nonfatal injury cost per person involved in a motor vehicle crash is $61,375. Multiplying this number by the 78,000 reported injury crashes in 2001 totals $4.8 billion. (explanation of calculation)
(important note)


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How safe do people feel walking?


The Omnibus Survey completed for the Bureau of Transportation Statistics in February 2003 http://www.bts.gov/omnibus/household/2003/february/index.html
asked all respondents how safe they felt using different modes of transport. When asked how safe they felt...


How satisfied are you with how your local community is designed for making walking safe?





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How much has been spent by the Federal Government on improving conditions for walking?

In the years before passage of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991, Federal spending on bicycling and walking facilities was approximately $4-6 million per annum. Since then, spending of Federal funds by States has grown to more than $416 million in FY 2002.

FHWA Obligations for Bicycle and Pedestrian projects, millions of dollars


In Millions of Dollars
 1989    - - -    $4.9
 1990    - - -    $5.4
 1990    - - -    $6.6
 1991    - - -    $17.1
 1992    - - -    $22.9
 1993    - - -    $33.6
 1994    - - -    $112.6
 1995    - - -    $178.6
 1996    - - -    $197.2
 1997    - - -    $238.7
 1998    - - -    $217
 1999    - - -    $204
 2000    - - -    $296
 2001    - - -    $339
 2002    - - -    $416

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Support for Bicycling and Walking


A national survey released on April 1, 2021 commissioned by the Surface Transportation Policy Project shows that many Americans are in favor of walking more places, and are willing to invest what is necessary to make it possible. The poll found that 55 percent of the adults would rather walk than drive if given the choice. The survey shows that 68 percent of adults favors investing more federal money into improving walkability in order to make walking safer for people of all ages, but in particularly children. Seventy-four percent of those polled are in favor of using state transportation money to help fund Safe Routes to School initiatives. An overwhelming 84% of those polled are in favor of designing streets for slower traffic speeds using state transportation money even if it means that they would have to drive slower themselves.
http://www.transact.org/report.asp?id=205


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