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Visualization: More People Are Biking (And Running!) To Work

A new report from Strava, a social network and app for athletes and commuters, is a glimpse at the way we get around today.

One of the easiest ways to combat carbon emissions is to ditch your car and walk or ride a bike instead. A new report from the activity tracking app Strava illustrates how more people are doing just that to get to work.

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[Image: courtesy Strava]
Today, the company released its annual Year In Sport report, a behavioral analysis of its users’ activities, like running and biking. The main takeaway? 2017 saw large increases in commuters who are opting to walk, run, or cycle to work. In 2016, 4.5 million people used Strava to track commutes; in 2017 that number increased to 5.8 million. Strava users worldwide logged 86 million commutes in 2017, up from 68 million in 2016. Based on the distance users traveled by foot or by bike–1.24 billion miles, as logged by the app–these commuters offset 1 billion pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere. That’s the equivalent of removing 96,000 passenger cars from the road, based on the EPA estimate of a typical passenger car emitting 4.7 metric tons of carbon annually.

And it’s not just cyclists who are commuting. According to the report, people running to work increased by a huge 43% this year, with London leading the way for run-commuting followed by Amsterdam, Paris, and New York City.

[Image: courtesy Strava]
While urban cycling and walking are on the rise in the United States, there’s still plenty of room to grow, from building more pedestrian and bike infrastructure to changing the culture of urban cycling. Strava itself is collaborating with city planners through its Metro platform, which shares anonymous commuting data with cities and states. More than half of all activity logged in the app is related to commuting rather than recreation or exercise, which is helping some urban designers better understand real-time travel behavior–an essential proof point for new infrastructure investment and policy.

So riders and runners, keep logging those commute miles. It will lead to better health in the short run–and in the long run, it might help reshape our cities to become more sustainable.

About the author

Diana Budds is a New York–based writer covering design and the built environment.

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