Active Transportation and Micromobility

Photo of people riding bikes.

Active transportation is human-powered mobility, such as biking and walking. Active transportation eliminates motor vehicle miles traveled altogether, so these alternative transportation modes are effective ways to conserve fuel, reduce vehicle emissions, bridge the first- and last-mile gap, and improve individual and public health. Privately owned bicycles and fleets of shared bicycles, as well as other small vehicles, are considered active transportation.

Corporate decision makers and transportation planners can support active transportation 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 cyclist-friendly routes, bike share stations, and supporting infrastructure is another way to facilitate bike riding. An example is the Denver Regional Bicycle Map. Protecting cyclists and pedestrians through a safe passing law, such as the one developed by the League of American Bicyclists, can make them feel safer and more likely to use active transportation.

Infrastructure Development

Active transportation 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 transportation. 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 transportation.

As one example, the Big Jump Project is helping 10 U.S. cities improve their bicycling infrastructure by building biking networks and conducting outreach to encourage people to ride more.

Micromobility Programs

Shared micromobility refers to fleets of fully or partially human-powered vehicles including manual bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters. These small vehicles are intended for short-term use, typically in higher-density urban areas, though micromobility systems exist in communities of various sizes. Micromobility options fill a gap in needs for single segment or one-way trips, allowing users 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.

In recent years, the deployment of micromobility sharing services (bikes and scooters) has expanded rapidly in cities across the United States. According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, the number of shared bike trips in the 100 largest U.S. cities increased from 321,000 in 2010 to 45.5 million in 2018. There were 38.5 million shared scooter trips in 2018, representing 46% of the 84 million shared micromobility trips taken. As one example, Capital Bikeshare partners with public and private organizations to make more than 4,500 bicycles available at more than 500 stations across the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Case Study

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