If P.E. was always the easiest class, then why are we getting an “F” for walking? The National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP)- put together by a coalition of public health groups like the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Medical Association- includes a report card that consists almost entirely of “F”s across a range of walking measures. Streetsblog USA has more details at the link but says NPAP failed in the following areas:
Funding for pedestrian infrastructure
NPAP looked at how much states spend on biking and walking infrastructure per capita. Based on recommendations from active transportation advocates, three percent of surface transportation spending should go to walking and biking infrastructure, or $5.26 per capita as a baseline for a passing grade.
As a whole, the U.S. comes in at about half that, with the average state spending just $2.47 per capita. Only five states met the $5.26 threshold, hence the failing grade. States meeting the criteria include Alaska, Montana, Delaware, Vermont, and Rhode Island.
Pedestrian deaths are on the rise in the U.S., with 6,000 fatalities last year. NPAP set a threshold of 0.75 annual pedestrian deaths per 100,000 people as the baseline for a good safety record. In 2015, the national pedestrian fatality rate was more than twice as high: 1.67 deaths per 100,000 people.
Only four states met the standard, most of which are small and sparsely populated, including Idaho, South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Minnesota.
NPAP looked at whether at least 6 percent of commuters in a given state ride transit. The national average is 5.1 percent with just seven states meet the 6 percent threshold. Those states are New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Illinois, Washington, and Hawaii.
NPAP looked for states where at least 30 percent of people live in “highly walkable neighborhoods,” as defined by the EPA’s Smart Location Database and factors in population density, intersection density, and other measures. Just 16 states meet the 30 percent threshold, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, and Washington.