As bicycling grows in popularity, gas prices soar, and Congress contemplates new transportation laws, a new survey finds that the overwhelming majority of Americans want to maintain or increase federal funding for biking and walking.
Princeton Survey Research Associates International asked a nationally representative sample of 1,003 adults in the United States about their opinions on federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.
Participants were first asked to estimate what percentage of federal transportation funding is currently spent on sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. Participants were then were asked to say what percentage of transportation funds should be spent on biking and walking infrastructure.
Respondents then learned that less than 2 percent of transportation funding goes to sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths; 17 percent is used for public transportation; and 80 percent is used for roads and highways. Respondents were asked if the percentage that goes to biking and walking should increase, decrease, or stay about the same.
The results showed that 83 percent of respondents support maintaining or growing federal funding for sidewalks, bikeways, and bike paths. More and more Americans are turning to biking for daily transportation. Americans took 4 billion bike trips in 2009, and the number of bicycle commuters has grown by 43 percent since 2000.
Currently, 1.5 percent of federal transportation spending funds sidewalks and bikeways. In contrast, biking and walking make up 12 percent of all trips, and bicyclists and pedestrians represent 14 percent of all traffic fatalities. Eliminating the tiny percentage of funding for bicycling and walking projects may worsen the existing discrepancy between funding, safety, and number of trips made by foot and bike.
The Princeton survey found:
- The vast majority of Americans — 83 percent — support maintaining or increasing federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths.
- There is strong bipartisan support for sidewalks, bike lanes, and bike paths. Eighty percent of Republican respondents, 86 percent of Independent respondents, and 88 percent of Democrat respondents said Congress should maintain or increase federal funds for biking and walking.
- Support for maintaining or increasing funding for sidewalks and bikeways was consistently high among all surveyed demographics. Respondents reported support for biking and walking funding in all gender, age, income, and racial groups. Support was also high regardless of political identification, educational background, region, and community type.
About America Bikes
“America Bikes advocates in Congress for a federal transportation law that meets these challenges and measures progress in terms of cost effectiveness, clean air, energy independence, and job creation as well as safe, healthy, and effective transportation choices.
On behalf of our 300,000 members and the tens of millions of U.S. cyclists, America Bikes urges Congress to adopt legislation for complete streets, active transportation networks, and a fair share for safety.
We are a national coalition of leaders from the bicycle and pedestrian movement ensuring an increased role for bicycling as a healthy means of everyday travel and recreation.”