SF Bay Area residents are not walking as much as they used to
There's been a staggering decline in the number of trips San Francisco Bay Area residents take by putting one foot in front of the other, per a new report.
Why it matters: Walking is good for us.
- That's true both on an individual level (thanks to the many health benefits it confers) and in the big-picture climate change sense (given that it's the OG form of zero-emissions travel).
Driving the news: The number of annual average daily walking trips per 1,000 people in the San Francisco metro area dropped by a third between 2019 and 2022, per a new StreetLight Data report.
- There were 280 annual average daily walking trips per 1,000 people in 2022, compared to 420 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" was any trip taken by foot that was more than 250 meters — about 820 feet — from start to finish.
The big picture: Nationally, the number of annual average daily walking trips dropped a whopping 36% in the contiguous U.S. between 2019 and 2022.
- "In every metro and state that StreetLight analyzed, walking trips declined over the three-year period by at least 20%," per the report.
- The rate of decline slowed from 16% between 2019 and 2020 and 19% between 2020 and 2021 to 6% between 2021 and 2022. But that's still a significant overall drop, from about 120 million trips in 2019 to fewer than 80 million in 2022.
What they're saying: The pandemic had an "obvious impact," StreetLight said. But beyond that, the group isn't sure what's keeping Americans off their feet.
- Some of this could be remote work, which can make it all too easy to become overly sedentary.
- And some of it could be part of the downtown recovery story — if a city has fewer restaurants, shops and so on open, there's less reason for locals and visitors to have a walkabout.
The bottom line: "For communities focused on safety, climate, health and equity initiatives, an all-hands-on-deck strategy across safety, transit, land use and more will be needed to increase walking activity," per StreetLight's report.
More San Francisco stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios San Francisco.