Whether it’s for pleasure or necessity, everyone lucky enough not to have any physical problems walks. But how much do we walk? Is it enough? Let’s find out, as always, together.
The World Health Organization recommends for adults aged 18-64 to “do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.”
150 minutes could be easily achieved by having a short stroll of half an hour a day, 5 days a week. It seems feasible, but do we do it?
The Department for Transport, through the National Travel Survey (NTS), monitored the walking and cycling habits of people in England. I extracted data recorded between 2015/16 and 2017/18 for Bournemouth and compared them with the national results.
The results are the following. In Bournemouth, during these 3 years, the percentage of adults cycling or walking 5 times a week for any purpose increased by 7.9%, while the national average increased only by 1.4%. Similarly, the percentage of adults cycling and walking 3 times a week for any purpose in Bournemouth increased by 7.7%, while the national average saw an increment of 1.5%.
|Bournemouth||% of adults walking/cycling 3 times a week||% of adults walking/cycling 5 times a week||Number of people surveyed|
|England||% of adults walking 3 times a week||% of adults walking 5 times a week||Number of people surveyed||% of trip up to 1 mile by car||%of trip between 1 and 5 miles by car|
Not bad, it looks like more people are getting out for a walk from time to time. However, we will not talk here about the health benefits of walking and cycling. What I want you to look at is another NTS travel report, published in 2018 with “statistics covering personal travel within Great Britain by English residents.” In 2018, 19% of trips up to 1 mile was completed by car and the percentage rise to 58% for trips between 1 and 5 miles (data shown are for England only).
That’s what I want you to focus on. To go shopping in the local supermarket, in 2018 1 English resident out of 5 decided to take the car. What could be the reasons? Heavy bags, physical impediments, laziness, all of them? Unfortunately, these data don’t tell us why. It is our responsibility to analyze our travel habits and understand whether they’re good or not.
Simple, as everyone knows, car emissions are bad for the environment and for all of its inhabitants, including us. During the second quarter of 2015, the UK government declared that the “average carbon dioxide emissions of cars registered for the first time” was of 122.1g/km. Note that this number is related to new cars only, and what about that old truck you keep driving around from the ’90s?
Moreover, Transport For London (TFL) recently published a list of short journeys on the London Underground that “could be quicker to walk”. The tube is a great alternative to the car, what I want you to take from here is that the number of unnecessary journeys we take every day have an impact on our environment, therefore they’re bad for us. Think of it as your own house: how nice it is when you come back home and your house is clean and fresh? The environment should be thought of in the same way, let’s keep it “nice and tidy” and we will all benefit from it.
Are you a professional jogger or a couch lover? Let me know in the comment and don’t forget to stay Green!
Do you want to dig more in the data? Check them out at the following links:
- National Travel Survey 2018 (data considered are on page 14).
- New car carbon emissions (data considered are from Chart 13).
- Central London journeys that could be quicker to walk.
- Walking and cycling statistics (data considered are from spreadsheets CW0301 and CW0306).