2016 Benchmarking Report released

The broad trend is clear: Walking and biking are on the rise across the United States and South Carolina. A new report from the Alliance for Biking & Walking puts local and state efforts in perspective in Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report.

“We’re seeing a steady rise in levels of biking and walking.  We know that residents of South Carolina, especially our cities, want mobility options,” said Amy Johnson Ely of the Palmetto Cycling Coalition.  “When the cost of transportation averages 15-20% of your personal expenses, it matters that you be able to choose whether you walk, bike, or take transit.  And who wants to sit in their car in traffic anymore?  People in SC are seeing the benefits – better health, economics, and fun from enjoying fresh air.”

So where does South Carolina stand?

SC Mode Share*

  • 2.3% of people WALK to work, ranking 32nd highest in the country (US averages 2.8% and ranges 1.1-8.0%), increasing 0.5% from 2007 – 2013.
  • 0.3% of people BIKE to work, ranking 34th highest in the country (US averages 0.6% and ranges 0.1-2.4%), increasing 0.1% from 2007 – 2013.
  • 0.6% of people take TRANSIT to work, a 0% change from 2007 – 2013.
  • SC ranks 33rd in the country in walking and biking commute mode share.*

*Commute Mode share is only a small measure of the many reasons people bike and walk.  See graphic below.


  • 5.8% of people walk to work.
  • 2.5% of people bike to work.
  • From 2009 – 2013, Charleston had the highest growth rate in the United States in bicycling, at 73.36%, or from 1,588 to 2,753 bike commuters.**

**a separate sourcehttp://moving.selfstorage.com/top-cities-for-cycling-to-work/


  • While women constitute 48% of our state population, only 39% of all commuters who WALK to work are female (US averages 46%), and only 24% of all commuters who BIKE to work are female (US averages 27%).
  • SC has a disproportionately large percentage of low income commuters who WALK and take TRANSIT to work. While 17% of SC population is low income, they make up 41% of walking commuters and 44% of transit commuters.
  • SC has a disproportionately large percentage of African Americans that WALK and take TRANSIT to work. While 29% of SC population is African American, they make up 35% of walking commuters and 73% of transit commuters.

SC Geography

  • Our state experienced a 15.3% population rise from 2000-2010, a similar rate of change from the previous 3 decades, almost entirely in urban areas.
  • 9% of SC land is considered urban, much higher than the US average (3.0% in a 0.1-39.7% range)


  • SC spends $0.83 per capita on biking and walking projects, ranking 45th highest in the country, and 0.6% of the average annual SCDOT budget.


  • SC ranks 46th in the country in bicycle and pedestrian fatalities, with 23.7 fatalities per 10,000 commuters. (no change from 2 years ago)
  • Charleston has 9.4 bicycle and pedestrian fatalities per 10,000 commuters.


  • 49% of South Carolinians get 150+ minutes weekly of physical activity, a 4% rise from 2005 –

That’s why the Palmetto Cycling Coalition is working to make bicycling and walking safer. We do this at the state level in the legislature improving our bike and pedestrian laws, and with state agencies, like the SC Department of Transportation and SC Department of Public Safety, by improving road design and educational opportunities.

Download the full Benchmarking Report here.


Amy Johnson Ely

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