In Indianapolis, people would rather drive than walk
There's been a staggering decline in people traversing Indianapolis by foot in the last few years.
Driving the news: Cars are making a comeback, at the expense of walking, after a pandemic lull in driving.
- The number of annual average daily walking trips in the Indianapolis area dropped 45.9% between 2019 and 2022, per a new StreetLight Data report. That's higher than the national average.
- There were 200 annual average daily walking trips in Indianapolis per 1,000 people last year, compared to 370 in 2019.
How it works: StreetLight measures travel behavior based on anonymized data from mobile devices, vehicle GPS systems and more.
- For this analysis, one "walking trip" is any trip taken by foot that is more than 250 meters — about 820 feet — from start to finish.
Between the lines: Driving is baked into Indianapolis' culture and urban design.
- The city is trying to figure out what to do with a glut of surface lots downtown, even as businesses — spurred on by patrons who aren't keen on walking more than a block — complain there isn't enough parking.
Flashback: Indianapolis eliminated hundreds of parking spaces to let restaurants spill into streets during the pandemic, but those spaces are once again reserved for cars.
Yes, but: Those activists argue the city hasn't gone far enough to make people feel safe, including by continuing to allow higher-than-average speed limits.
Of note: There have been more than 250 crashes involving pedestrians this year.
- That's 37 more than the same time last year, which saw a record-high pedestrian death total, WTHR reports.
The big picture: Most cities have seen walking take a hit in recent years, per StreetLight.
- Nationally, daily walking trips dropped 36% and "active transportation" — walking and biking — accounted for 10% of overall trips in 2022, down from 14% in 2019.
- Just a few dense (and warm weather) cities saw walking trips rise during the same time period.
Meanwhile, driving trips have nearly recovered to 2019 levels — yet another sign that America is a country of car lovers.
The bottom line: Indianapolis loves its cars, too.
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