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Active Transportation

"Pedestrians and cyclists crossing the street"
Photo credit: Getty Images

Americans rely on connected transportation networks for safe and efficient travel by road, rail, and air. Yet many Americans lack access to connected active transportation networks—which are especially important for the 52% of all trips that are under three miles. Instead of connected networks, pedestrians, cyclists, and wheelchair and micromobility users can encounter dead ends, miles without sidewalks, roads without safe options, and other network gaps that make it harder or even unsafe to get around by walking, biking, or rolling. In fact, local transportation planners and active transportation organizations have estimated there is $7 billion in unmet need for active transportation networks across the country. DOT, which has historic funding available from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, is working to meet communities’ need for safe, affordable, and convenient active transportation networks for all users.

Source: FHWA Equity in Roadway Safety, 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Modified, with permission, by FHWA.

In May 2024, the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) is recognizing National Bike Month and all the related activities of its Operating Administrations that support a safe, multimodal transportation network for all users. 

  • Bicycling is a healthy, affordable, and climate friendly way to get around your community. 
  • Most trips (52%) made are under three miles, which is a short distance perfect for biking, walking, and rolling (Active Transportation). 
  • Infrastructure that is friendly for all people who use on-road facilities and off-road trails – including bicyclists – makes it easier to get around your community and can help:
    • Increase the safety of your neighbors, friends, and family who use the roads where you live, work, and play;
    • Enable more people to avoid traffic congestion and choose forms of travel that contribute low to no emissions; 
    • Make destinations that are just a little too far for walking, such as transit stations, easier to reach, and;
    • Increase physical activity and health for those who choose to bicycle.

In line with the Fiscal Year 2022-2026 DOT Strategic Plan’s goals on safety, climate, and equity, the Department seeks to play its part to increase the percentage of trips by transit and active transportation modes by 50% from 2020 levels.

Active transportation networks—including bike lanes, sidewalks, and multi-use trails—help create vibrant communities by providing safe, comfortable, convenient, reliable, efficient, and affordable ways for people to get around. Investing in active transportation can drive community cohesion and economic prosperity while helping to ensure people are connected to the outdoors and the essential places they need to go each day. Importantly, active transportation networks provide opportunities for affordable, low-emission or zero-emission trips while closing gaps between people and their next ride—after all, active transportation is an essential part of every public transportation trip. Active transportation infrastructure helps create interconnected transportation networks that can help reduce congestion and traffic fatalities when designed with all users in mind; improve access to economic opportunity; increase physical activity and improve human health; and tighten the social fabric of communities.

See the drop-down tabs below for more information about the benefits of active transportation, DOT’s relevant initiatives and funding programs, and a list of resources.

* The information posted on DOT websites may include hypertext links or pointers to information created and maintained by other public and/or private organizations. DOT provides these links and pointers solely for our users' information and convenience. The Department of Transportation does not endorse the organizations sponsoring linked websites and does not endorse the views they express or the products/services they offer.