Active Transit

Photo of people riding bikes.

Active transit is human-powered transportation, such as biking and walking. Active transportation eliminates vehicle miles traveled altogether, so this alternative transportation mode is an effective way to conserve fuel, reduce vehicle emissions, and improve human health.

Fleet managers, corporate decision makers, and public transportation planners can support active transit through infrastructure development like bike lanes, facility upgrades (e.g. bike lockers on site), and making active transportation accessible through things like bike share programs. Education programs have also been shown to improve ridership by teaching riders how to ride safely and how to repair and maintain their bicycles.

Providing maps of biker-friendly routes, bike share stations, and supporting infrastructure is another way to facilitate bike riding. An example is the Denver Regional Bicycle Map.

Infrastructure Development

Active transit requires adequate infrastructure that includes crosswalks, overpasses, sidewalks, and bike lanes or paths to help people travel safely. State and local laws protecting pedestrians and bicyclists help improve the safety of active transit. Efforts by bicycle advocacy groups including the PeopleForBikes PlacesForBikes program and the League of American Bicyclists support safety and infrastructure development for active transportation. Employers can provide bike racks, locker rooms, and bicycle maintenance facilities to help employees commute by active transit.

As one example, the Big Jump Project is helping ten cities improve their bicycling infrastructure by building biking networks and conducting outreach to encourage people to ride more.

Bike Share Programs

Bike share programs provide bicycles for short-term use, typically near busy locations conducive to one-way bicycle trips. Some travelers prefer shared bikes if they are planning to bicycle only one segment of a trip, or to avoid the costs of purchasing, maintaining, and storing a bike. Memberships and payment schedules usually encourage many short trips over fewer long trips to minimize bicycle downtime.

The National Association of City Transportation Officials tracks the growth of bike share in the United States.

Case Study

Government organizations like Metro in Portland, Oregon, are developing regional active transit networks.

As one example, Capital Bikeshare partners with public and private organizations to make more than 4,300 bicycles available at more than 500 stations across the Washington, D.C., metro area.