Burlington is the smallest US city included in the Alliance for Biking and Walking's 2016 Benchmarking Report, a survey of the status of walking and biking across the country. The report covers all 50 states and the 50 most populous cities in the country, plus a handful of small to midsized cities chosen because of the strength of the bicycling movement in that community. Thanks to the efforts of Local Motion and our statewide partners, Burlington has made the cut since 2014! Read on to learn more about what this national report has to say about walking and biking in Burlington and across Vermont...
Here are some highlights relevant to Vermont in the 2016 report:
Biking continues to grow nationally across the US, including in small cities like Burlington. In fact, of 19 small to mid-sized cities, Burlington ranked fifth for the percentage of commuters who bike to work (at 6.8%). This bested some larger cities known for their bike culture, such as Denver and Minneapolis.
Women are extremely underrepresented in biking to work numbers, including in Burlington. Women walk to work at rates much higher than they bike to work. In Vermont, women make up just 28% of all commuters who bike to work (23% in Burlington). This is 20 percentage points lower than the percentage of women in the overall commuter population (49% statewide and in Burlington). This contrasts with the percentage of Vermont walking commuters who are female , which at 48% is essentially proportional to the population as a whole.
Seniors are disproportionately vulnerable while walking and biking. Seniors aged 65 or older represent 14% of the U.S. population, compared to 16% in Vermont. Between 2005-2013, seniors in our state represented a much higher proportion of pedestrian fatalities (46%) than their percentage in the overall population (16%). None of the biking fatalities in Vermont during that same time period were 65 or older. However, nationally, bike fatalities among seniors have been steadily increasing.
Walking and biking can help improve community health. The report suggests a strong relationship between the percentage of people commuting via foot and bike and key public health indicators. For example, Vermont had some of the smallest increases in the levels of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. Of the small to midsized cities included in the report, Burlington had the highest combined rate of biking and walking to work and one of the lowest rates of obesity. Active transportation and community design play a role in improving community health.