Edited by Robin Hickman, Moshe Givoni, David Bonilla and David Banister
Chapter 13: Community design and active travel
Active travel modes – walking and cycling and other self-propelled modes used for transportation – are low-cost, low-polluting, low-carbon, calorie-burning, health-improving alternatives to driving. Recognizing these advantages, the World Health Organization in 2002 published a special report on active travel arguing that: Walking and cycling as part of daily activities should become a major pillar of the strategy to increase levels of physical activity as part of reducing the risk of coronary heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and some forms of cancer. Increasing non-motorized transport will also reduce air and noise pollution and improve the quality of urban life. (Racioppi et al., 2002) In some places, active modes are already a pillar of the transportation system. In the Netherlands and Denmark, walking and biking accounted for about 51 percent and 34 percent of daily trips as of 2008, respectively (Pucher and Buehler, 2010). In comparison, the share of daily trips by active modes in the United States was 12 percent, and the share of commute trips by active modes was less than 4 percent. Australia and Canada fared somewhat better, with active modes accounting for 6 percent and 12 percent of commute trips, respectively. Bringing these numbers closer to those of northern European would clearly yield considerable benefits in these countries.
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