Bicycling and walking in the United States: 2010 benchmarking reportAlliance for Biking & Walking, Washington DC
The Alliance for Biking & Walking’s Benchmarking Project is an ongoing effort to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and at least the 50 largest cities.
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Government officials working to promote bicycling and walking need data to evaluate their efforts. In order to improve something, there must be a means to measure it. The Alliance for Biking & Walking’s Benchmarking Project is an ongoing effort to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and at least the 50 largest cities. This is the second biennial Benchmarking Report. The first report was published in the fall of 2007, and the next report is scheduled to be published in January 2012.
(1) Promote Data Collection and Availability
The Benchmarking project aims to collect data from secondary sources (existing databases) and to conduct surveys of city and state officials to obtain data not collected by another national source. A number of government and national data sources are collected and illustrated in this report. Through state, city, and organization biannual surveys, this project makes new data available in a standardized format that otherwise does not exist.
(2) Measure Progress and Evaluate Results
The Benchmarking Project aims to provide data to government officials and advocates in an accessible format that helps them measure their progress toward increasing bicycling and walking and evaluate the results of their efforts. Because the Benchmarking Project is ongoing, cities and states can measure their progress over time and will see the impacts of their efforts. By providing a consistent and objective tool for evaluation, organizations, states, and cities can determine what works and what doesn't. Successful models can be emulated and failed models reevaluated.
(3) Support Efforts to Increase Bicycling and Walking
This project will ultimately support the efforts of government officials and bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations to increase bicycling and walking in their communities. By providing a means for cities and states to compare themselves to one another, this report will highlight successes, encourage communities making progress, and make communities aware of areas where more effort is needed. By highlighting the top states and cities, other states and cities will gain inspiration and best practice models. This report is intended to help states and communities set goals, plan strategies, and evaluate results.
This report focuses on 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities. Most bicycling and walking is in urban areas, and because of short trip distances, the most potential for increasing bicycling and walking is in cities. Whenever possible, the Alliance collected data for this report directly from uniform government data sources. Researchers collected data that were not readily accessible from national sources through three surveys for cities, states, and advocacy organizations. In October 2008, the team reached out to 50 states and 51 cities, utilizing the staff of cities, state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, and advocacy organizations to provide data for organization, city, and state surveys.