August 4, 2009

Half of U.S. car trips could be walked

About half of U.S. car trips are less than 5 miles and U.S. researchers suggest people's health would benefit from cycling or walking some of these trips.

Edward Maibach of George Mason University says community leaders should make promotion of physical activity a priority because there are proven low-cost options that communities can use to encourage people to get out of their cars and walk or cycle instead.

Use of these options helps people remain healthy by promoting physical activity and reducing obesity and helps reduce heat-trapping pollutants that cause global warming, Maibach says in a statement.

In an article in the journal Preventative Medicine, Maibach suggests policy makers and government officials at all levels should examine ways to promote active transport.

The Web site displays many examples of successful active transport programs such as city-bike sharing, customized walking or cycling maps.

One of my favorite examples is 'walking school buses' in which children and a few parents walk together to the local school, Maibach says.