Walking is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation. It produces almost no noise or pollution and utilizes significantly fewer nonrenewable resources than any other kind of transportation. Walking requires energy provided directly by the traveler, and using that energy provides a beneficial cardiovascular workout.
Walking takes up a fraction of the space required to drive and park a car. Furthermore, walking is cost-effective—in terms of direct user expenditures and public infrastructure investments, it is significantly less expensive than driving a car or taking public transportation. Walking is the most equitable means of transportation because it is cheap for almost everyone. (Guthold, R., Cowan, M.J., Autenrieth, C.S., Kann, L. and Riley, L.M., 2010)
Which Countries Are The Most Active And Which Are The Least Active?
Walking is a popular mode of transportation for short distances. As a result, assessing pedestrian mobility at the country level is problematic, as national travel surveys frequently overlook shorter excursions. In addition, the walking portions of trips done primarily by public transportation are commonly overlooked. As a result, the value of walking is currently undervalued.
The researchers looked at a dataset that included 717,527 users from 111 countries who used the smartphone app, Argus, to track their physical activity, with an average period of 95 days per user. Users’ names were deleted from the app, but researchers were given demographic information such as age, gender, height, and weight.
Hong Kong wins the prize for most steps taken per day, with the typical resident doing 6,880 steps each day. China came in second with 6,189 steps. On the other hand, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia had the fewest average daily steps, with 3,963 steps, 3,807 steps, and 3,513 steps, respectively. With an average daily step count of 4,774, the United States came in 30th place.
The researchers discovered global activity imbalance or significant differences between active and idle persons within a country’s borders. They found that a country’s degree of activity disparity is substantially linked to its obesity rate. Inequality predicts obesity better than the average national step count.
The physical environment also matters, according to the researchers, since more walkable towns raised walking rates across all age, gender, and BMI groups. If their environments were adapted for pedestrians’ requirements, females, in particular, demonstrated considerable walking increases.
How Can Your City Experience A Walking Transformation?
Cities must prioritize pedestrian safety, convenience, culture, and comfort to make walking a desirable option. In terms of engineering, this is quite simple, but it can be politically difficult due to opposition from groups who expect to be severely impacted. Here are some ways your city can make it work.
- Consider polling the people to see if funding for walking infrastructure would be beneficial to the city, especially if active transportation funding was not included in the city administration’s election platform. The majority of the time, the answer is yes, implying a solid mandate for rapid action.
- Car and taxi drivers and companies concerned about lost business and delivery vehicles frequently oppose giving up road space in favor of walking. A vociferous minority is usually the source of opposition. Cities can help win the local argument by raising the profile of the supportive majority, including through a positive poll.
- Ensure that the design process for pedestrian infrastructure is collaborative at the local level. To resolve issues and sustain popular support, be willing to be flexible with the details.
Walking is an essential component of long-term wellness. According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is now the fourth biggest risk factor for worldwide death. In many nations, increased levels of inactivity are linked to large-scale issues such as aging populations and unplanned, un-walkable urbanization. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that walking is promoted for the benefit of its citizens and the environment. (Wintle, S., 2007)