The Best Cities for Walking to Work

 

Depending on where you grew up the idea of walking to work might be completely normal or sound nuttier than squirrel droppings.

According to an article on MSN.com, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 91% of Americans get to work by car or public transportation. But, on the other hand, a Portland State University study discovered that people who either walk or bike to work are the happiest.

So, where can you live where a lot of people easily walk or bike to work? The nice people at Census Bureau did study on that too. Here’s the top ones:

Ames, Iowa – A lot of college towns made the list and this is no exception. But in addition to Iowa State University being located here, the town also boasts a thriving job market. Also, the town itself is big into healthy living and actively promotes walkability and bikeability within its borders.

Wichita Falls, Texas – Home to Sheppard Air Force Base, this town boasts a high number of walking commuters as well. The large percentage of the workforce that lives at Sheppard helps these stats a bit, but other factors help as well. Wichita Falls has an 18 mile path that surrounds the 70 square mile city.

Iowa City, Iowa – Another Iowa college town makes the list. In addition to the large amount of people who work or study at the University of Iowa, the town is designed to encourage walking. They invest heavily in their downtown area and the various neighborhoods are set up for easy, safe walking. And if that wasn’t enough to make people smile, this college town boasts one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates – 2.8%!

San Angelo, Texas – This city has a lot going for it… Forbes has named it as one of the best small cities for jobs in the nation. CNN Money also ranked it amongst the nation’s best for cities to launch a small business. The summer temperatures might cut back on some walkers during that season but year round they still have some of the most walking commuters in the country.

Champion & Urbana, Illinois – These two sister cities straddle the University of Illinois campus and a good percentage of their workers walk as well. They have a large weekend farmer’s market and many locally owned outdoor cafes. The cities decided years ago to focus their infrastructure on pedestrians instead of autos. The main drag is only two lanes and the sidewalks are all much larger than in a standard city.

Bloomington, Indiana – In 2001, Bloomington adopted and aggressive alternative transportation plan to help ease congestion around the town. Their plan was also intended to help improve the health of their citizens, boost the economy and help protect the environment. This plan has paid off well as they now have 86 miles of paths and trails connecting residential and business areas.

Flagstaff, Arizona – This northern Arizona town is one of the most aggressive when it comes to commuters who walk, bike or in their case hike. Back in the 1990’s a large portion of the city came together and pushed for a 50 mile urban trail system. They also have a pedestrian and biking corridor to aid alternative commuters.