If it seems like everyone is hiking, biking or using L.A.'s expanding light rail system these days, your sense of reality is not that far off.
The just-released Caltrans California Household Travel Survey reveals that almost one-quarter (about 23 percent) of our household trips statewide now involve non-car transportation, a figure that's more than double what it was (11 percent) in the futuristic year 2000.
According to the survey of 42,431 households conducted from 2010 to 2012 for the purpose of long-range transportation planning ...
... the share of household trips made on-foot nearly doubled from 8.4 percent to 16.6 in the years between 2000 and 2012.
More from the Caltrans report:
-The portion of public transportation trips doubled from 2.2 percent to 4.4 percent.
-The percentage of bicycle trips nearly doubled from .8 percent to 1.5 percent.
-And auto trips declined from 60.2 percent to 49.3 percent.
State officials are already using the encouraging data to back up their plans for a $129 million "Active Transportation Program" that will, the department says in a statement, fund "human-powered transportation projects and programs to increase the proportion of trips accomplished by biking and walking."
Of course, California budgeted $21.1 billion for transportation during the current fiscal year. Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty hints that there could be more for alternative people-moving in the future:
Based on this research, we can make good decisions about transportation that will improve mobility, air quality, and travel choices for all Californians and make our state a better place to live and work.
... Californians are increasingly determined to get places on their own power, and Caltrans is determined to help them do that. Active transportation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian paths, are an important part of achieving mobility, safety, and sustainability goals for California's transportation system.
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Chairman of the California Air Resources Board Mart D. Nichols promised much of the same:
California is committed to supporting this shift with better planning to support sustainable communities and healthier, low-carbon choices for travel.
These state officials talk the talk. Let's see if they can walk the walk.