Just a few days ago, the Federal Highway Administration released "The National Biking and Walking Study: a 15-year Status Report." The study covers walking and bicycling trends in the U.S. from 1990 to present. As the chart shows and the study reveals, more and more Americans are hitting the streets either on two feet or with two wheels a-rolling. From the launch of the study in 1990 to the last update in 2009, the number of trips traveled on foot have increased more than twofold from 18 to 42.5 billion a year. Though pedal-powered trips lag far behind walking, bicycling has witnessed a similar increase, shooting up from 1.7 billion trips in 1990 to four billion in 2009.

Those numbers fail to place bicycling and walking into the bigger overall picture. Yes, 46.5 billion combined trips is a lot, but how does that compare to trips made by car? Well, back in 1994, 7.9 percent of all travel trips were made either on foot or while seated on the bike's saddle. By 2009, that number shot up to 11.9 percent.

The initial study back in 1994 found that walking and biking had major benefits. The report identified these five categories as primary reasons for turning to non-motorized transportation: better health, increased transportation efficiency, environmental benefits, economic benefits and improving the quality of life. Remarkably, 15 years later, these benefits continue to convince us to walk or bike as much as we can. Additionally, these same benefits are now the driving force behind the advanced technology vehicles of tomorrow.

[Source: United States Department of Transportation]

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