Stay Up to Date
Receive Bicycle Friendly America news delivered straight to your inbox every other week.
60% of Americans support increasing federal funding for biking and walking
Sixty percent of Americans surveyed think the federal government should invest more of its transportation dollars into programs that benefit people who bike and walk. In a new League of American Bicyclists/Ipsos poll, Americans across the political, social, and racial spectrum report wanting better places to bike and walk, with 78% of people surveyed agreeing that their community would be a better place to live if bicycling were safer and more comfortable.
The new poll is the third in eight years conducted by the League of American Bicyclists surveying Americans’ attitudes towards biking and the federal government’s investment in sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. Previously, a 2016 telephone survey found 67% of Americans believed better biking and walking would make their community a better place to live. As the largest grassroots bicycling advocacy organization in the nation, the League of American Bicyclists sees these poll results as a call to action for Congress to pass a transportation bill that invests in transformative infrastructure for people who bike and walk.
In the 2020 poll, Americans are asked how much money they think the federal government should be investing in sidewalks, bike lanes and paths, 43% say it should be at least 6 percent or more of the transportation budget, 30% believe the government should be investing 3 to 5 percent, while 17% say this should be between 1 to 2 percent and 11% believe it should be less than 1 percent.
After being told that less than 2 percent of the transportation budget goes to biking and walking infrastructure, 60% of those surveyed believe that federal funding for bicycling and walking should be increased, up from 58% in 2016 and 47% in 2012.
For the first time since 2012, people across all demographic breakdowns support an increase in investment. The biggest increases in support for shifting federal transportation funding to bicycling and walking comes from Republicans, White Americans, people over 50 and those with a high school education or less. However, the highest level of support remains with Democrats, Black Americans, women, those with college degrees and those living in cities.
- While Democrats retain the highest level of support for increased investment at 67%, the largest increase in support was amongst Republicans. In 2020, 52% of Republicans support increased investment compared with 44% in 2016 and 34% in 2012
- 62% of Independents support increased investment
Race and ethnicity
- Black Americans continue to show the highest support for increased investment at 62%
- The largest rise in support comes from White Americans. In 2020, 61% of White Americans support increased investment compared with 54% in 2016 and 44% in 2012
- 60% of Hispanic respondents support increased investment
- Those with a college degree show the highest support for increased investment at 62%
- Those with a high school diploma or less show the largest rise. In 2020, 58% of those with a high school diploma or less support increased investment compared with 52% in 2016 and 43% in 2012
- 59% of respondents with some college support increased investment
- Those making $30,000-49,999 show the highest level of support and largest increase in support: in 2020, 63% support increased investment compared to 53% in 2016 and 54% in 2020.
- 62% of those making $75,000 or more support increased investment, and 56% of those making $50,000-$74,999 support increased investment
- Those who live in urban areas show the highest support for increased investment at 63%
- Suburban residents show the largest increase rising to 61% in 2020, compared to 57% in 2016 and 44% in 2012
- 55% of rural residents support an increase in investment
- Those between 50 and 64 years of age show the highest level of support at 67% as well as the greatest increase compared with 56% in 2016 and 43% in 2012
- 50% of those over 65 support increased investment, and 58% and 63% of those between ages 18-29 and 30-49 respectively support increased investment.
Regions of the Country
- Those in the Northeast show both the highest level of support at 66% and the largest increase compared with 56% in 2016 and 52% in 2012
- 60% of those in the West, 59% of those in the South, and 57% of those in the Midwest support increased investment
- Women report the highest support for increased investment and increased the most in their support. 63% support increased investment in 2020 compared with 59% in 2016 and 48% in 2012.
- 57% of men support increased investment
The 2020 survey was conducted August 20 – 21, 2020. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 adults ages 18 and over from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii was interviewed online, in English. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of ±3.5 percentage points for all respondents.
The 2016 survey was conducted September 15-18, 2016 by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International. For the survey, a sample of 1,000 adults living in the continental United States was interviewed over the telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.
The 2012 survey was conducted September 27-30, 2012 by the Princeton Survey Research Associates International. For the survey, a sample of 1,005 adults living in the continental United States was interviewed over the telephone. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish.