Volume 3, Issue 1 July 2003

Volume 3, Issue 1
July 2003

Pedestrian Travel During 2002

For most US residents, their daily travels involve some degree of walking. Some may use walking as their sole source of transportation while others may walk to get to some other transportation mode (for example, from their residence to some form of public transit) or simply for exercise.

The Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) monthly Omnibus Survey found that, during 2002, an average of 143.7 million US residents (or 72 percent of the non-institutionalized, adult population) walked, ran or jogged outside for 10 minutes or longer on at least one day during the month prior to completing the survey. Monthly averages ranged from a low of 68% who walked, ran, or jogged in November to a high of 76% in April. (see figure 1)

Pedestrians who walked, ran or jogged, did so on about 13 days during a month. Monthly averages ranged from a low of 12 days in February to a high of 14 days in July.

About three out of five pedestrians (58 percent) who walked, ran, or jogged, reported spending at least 30 minutes on these activities while 28 percent reported spending an hour or more.

About 77 percent of pedestrians report that they walked, ran or jogged primarily for exercise or recreation (see table 1). Another 15 percent walked to complete personal errands, and 7 percent report that their primary reason for walking was to get to work or they walk as part of their job.

Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1 shows that during 2002, 4,776 pedestrians were killed and 72,000 were injured in crashes with motor vehicles on public roadways (both paved and unpaved). The Omnibus Survey asks pedestrians to describe where they typically walk, run or jog. BTS findings show that 42 percent of pedestrians walked, ran, or jogged most frequently on paved roads, the shoulders of paved roads, bicycle lanes on paved roads, or on unpaved roads. An additional 40 percent of pedestrians traveled mostly on sidewalks (which generally abut roadways). Only 18 percent of pedestrians reported that they most often walk, run or jog on bike or walking paths, trails, grass, tracks, or other surfaces (such as fitness centers, boardwalks, or other non-vehicular areas).

Source and Accuracy Statements

Methodology. Data presented in this issue of OmniStats are taken from several issues of the BTS Omnibus Household Survey. Data are preliminary and are subject to change. The target population for the survey is the US non-institutionalized adult population (18 years of age or older). Monthly results are based on a completed sample of 1000+ households that are randomly selected using a list-assisted random digit dialing (RDD) methodology.

Margin of Error. Survey data provide estimates of population parameters and are subject to error because findings are based on a sample, rather than on the entire population. Standard error estimates for each Omnibus Survey item are available on the BTS website for the Omnibus Survey at http://www.bts.gov/omnibus/household/index.html. After selecting the month of interest, choose "Marginal Frequency Distributions." Margin of error for findings in this report are shown in the table above (based on a 95% confidence interval). Estimates are also subject to nonsampling error, e.g., coding, transcription, or data coding errors. These errors would occur if a census survey was conducted under the same circumstances.

Contacts. For additional information, contact the following individuals:
Survey questions: lori.putman@bts.gov (202-366-4743)
This report: june.jones@bts.gov (202-366-5336)
Media inquiries: roger.lotz@bts.gov (202-366-2246)

1 Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Injury and Fatality Estimates: 2002 Early Assessment. Technical Report DOT HS 809 586. Published by the National Center for Statistics and Analysis, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.