Americans walk far less for transportation than residents of other industrialized nations, a new report emphasizes — the latest evidence that the nation needs to rethink its autocentric policies and put people first.
In a new study published in Sustainability, mobility researchers Ralph Buehler and John Pucher took on the daunting task of standardizing a messy range of global data on walking trips to better see how the United States stacks up against its peer nations.
The results probably won’t be surprising to sustainable transportation advocates, though they will be illuminating. Of the 11 countries in the sample for which data was available for all trip purposes, the U.S. tied for last with notoriously car-dependent New Zealand among the populations that walk for the lowest percentage of overall trips (12 percent). When it came to walking trips specifically to work, Americans moved only slightly more than Australians, at 3.0 and 2.5 percent of commutes, respectively.