Physical Activity: Active Transportation
Active transportation integrates physical activity into daily routines such as walking or biking to destinations such as work, grocery stores or parks.
Active transportation policies and practices in community design, land use and facility access have been proven effective to increase physical activity.
You can facilitate an Active Community Workshop! We offer train-the-trainer workshops that look at how walkable a community is. Find out more
Built environment and physical activity
The built environment has a strong effect on whether or not members of a community walk or bike:
- Many Americans live in places where it’s not easy to get the recommended amounts of physical activity every day.
- People tend to walk and bike where they have pleasant and safe places to do so. Sidewalks, crosswalks, bike facilities such as bike paths and lanes, and as well as trees, adequate safe lighting, benches, water fountains and trash removal can make a difference.
- Benefits of regular physical activity include: lower risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes; cuts risk of falling and bone fractures; helps manage discomfort of arthritis; develops and maintains strong bones, muscles, and joints; improves mood and sense of well-being; and helps control weight.
Minnesotans support active transportationThere is a great deal of support for active transportation in Minnesota:
- 93 percent believe future transportation projects should integrate walkers, bicycles and motorized vehicles.
- 87 percent believe the way a community is built has a big effect on how much physical activity people get.
- 72 percent believe there ought to be laws that require communities to build necessary sidewalks and bike paths.
Active transportation in MinnesotaMany communities are working to promote active transportation to provide safe and convenient opportunities for physical activity. Active transportation can be encouraged through:
- Sidewalks, walking paths, and bike facilities Safe and convenient pedestrian street crossing features such as crosswalks, stop signs, stop lights and other street crossing elements
- Motorist traffic calming and speed-reduction measures
- Street landscaping and pedestrian-level street lighting Bike racks, lockers, or other bike parking and storage facilities
- Land use development patterns to locate homes, worksites, schools, stores and other community services and amenities within reasonable walking distances (pedestrian-oriented development) and within easy access to transit (transit-oriented development)
- Signage that helps pedestrians and bicyclists navigate to their destinations.
How we are helping communities to be more active
The Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP). With SHIP, cities and counties across Minnesota are working on creating master walk and bike plans; updating municipal plans to include “complete streets” with sidewalks and crosswalks; increasing access to connected walking and bicycling networks; connecting and promoting trail systems; and collaborating on projects that improve walkability and bikeability in communities. Find out more about SHIP