Photo by Pixietart
Rails to Trails (RTC) has published a comprehensive report on the benefits of an infrastructure based on walkways and bikeways across America. Currently the U.S. Government funds such projects with approximately $453 million every year to help expand and repair these convenient paths.Ever since the introduction of this Bill which was designed to increase funding to these types of transportation programs, there has been a marked increase in people using these trails. It makes sense, as having a safe designated area to do these activities is important to a lot of folks. A lot of us don't mind riding a bike or walking, but when your only option in directly on the side of a highway, it can kind of lose its luster.
This report is designed to once again raise awareness to Congress about the positive function of such programs, and this year the stakes are even higher than the years prior, as this is the final year of the six year Bill which will be up on September 30th, 2009 (less than a year away). They are making a case for themselves on the positive attributes of such an infrastructure in comparison to other competing areas of funding, just as new streets and highways and public transportation.
Here are some of the highlights of the report:
Walking and biking could save anywhere from $10 to $65 billion annually by decreasing U.S. Financial aid towards health care (people would become healthier with exercise), exhaust emissions in the air, and oil and fuel consumption/dependency.
Currently two-thirds of every errand made in the U.S. under one mile are made with a four-wheel vehicle. One reason for this remains that many neighborhoods lack the proper infrastructure to make such trips safely and conveniently. Reducing these numbers could save 2.4 billion gallons of fuel, and between 21 and 45 million tons of CO2 a year.
A single bicycler riding 5 miles to and from work four days a week, can save on average 100 gallons of gasoline, 2,000 lbs of CO2 emissions, and reduce their carbon footprint on this earth by as much as 5 percent.
While current funding represents 79 percent allocated to roads and highways, 20 percent to public transportation, and only 1 percent to bicycling and walking, RTC recommends funding roads by only 37 percent, public transportation by 41 percent, and finally bicycle and walking paths by 22 percent.
With the current projection of our children's health, they should be expecting about a 5 year decrease in life expectancy, increased risk of cholesterol problems, fatty liver disease, diabetes, asthma, and higher medical costs per year. All these can significantly be reduced with the introduction of exercise, via biking or walking.
What are you waiting for America... as Nike would say, "Just do It."
More on biking
Bike-Sharing Goes Global: 5 Programs You Should Know About
Recycle-a-Bicycle and Plan B
Cycling Tip of the Week: Find a Bike Buddy
Ride Your Bike All Winter: Part 1
Ride Your Bike All Winter: Part 2
Don't Sweat It, Walkers and Bikers!