Unfortunately, even though being a pedestrian and using your feet to get to your destination is becoming more popular, far too many cities throughout the United States are not walkable enough. Last mile connectivity refers to the fact that many walkers get off of public transit or even their own car and trek up to the last mile on foot.
Some advocates for pedestrians’ safety argue that the lack of funds for infrastructure and the lack of attention in pedestrian issues stems from economic, political, and cultural challenges as well as how people think about mobility. Many times when cities and urban planners contemplate foot traffic, they think about journeys that are completed completely on foot. Using this measure, governments decide whether or not pedestrian infrastructure should get funding at all.
However, these aren’t the only type of pedestrian journeys in a city and downplaying this as well as walking long distances from the subway or bus, known as last mile trips, could lead to a lack of understanding about how pedestrians get to and from their destinations. Last mile connectivity can create a negative cycle for public transit system since fewer resources are invested in it and fewer riders are likely to make use of the service overall. Perceived security when getting to a station can determine a person’s willingness to use it in the future. A survey last year completed by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority looked at the benefits of investments and improving pedestrian access to subway stations.
A return of more than $24 million over the course of 30 years was associated with looking at 62 products that received small investments that total $13 million. The study also looked at the estimated changes that could save up to $11 million by decreasing the damages and injuries caused by bicycle accidents alone. Giving better station access to cyclists and pedestrians can decrease the opportunity for serious accidents and injuries to happen.