Transportation Benefits

Many of the trips that Americans make every day are short enough to be accomplished on foot or via wheelchair. The 1995 National Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) found that approximately 40 percent of all trips are less than two miles in length—which represents a 30-minute walk.

Walking and bicycling can help to reduce roadway congestion. Many streets and highways carry more traffic than they were designed to handle, resulting in gridlock, wasted time and energy, pollution, and driver frustration. Walking requires significantly less space per traveler than driving. Roadway improvements to accommodate pedestrians can also enhance safety for motorists. For example, adding paved shoulders on two-lane roads has been shown to reduce the frequency of run-off-road, head-on, and sideswipe motor vehicle crashes.

Graph showing Daily Trip Distances

Travel facts

  • Nearly one in 11 U.S. households does not own an automobile (2009 NHTS).
  • Approximately 12 percent of persons 15 or older do not drive (2001 NHTS).
  • There are 116 million walking trips and 11 million bike trips in the U.S. every day (2009 NHTS).
  • About 40 percent of all trips are shorter than two miles—a 30-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride (1995 NPTS).