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Missoula Measures - Walking


Why this topic?

Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Research has proven that being physically active can help reduce obesity rates. Walking is one of the best, most accessible ways to move around Missoula. Walking helps to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, and other chronic diseases; lowers health care costs; makes it easier to maintain a healthy body weight; and can be done by just about anyone. In addition, more walkers mean less traffic, reducing roadway congestion and improving air quality. More people walking also makes neighborhoods safer and improves quality of life. When people are out, they get to know their neighbors, creating community cohesion and deterring crime. And, best of all, walking is fun and free!

How are we doing?

Challenges to walking in Missoula:

On the other hand:


graph Missoula City and County walking and biking to work, 2011

US Census 2000


In 2009, the rate for the top 10 metropolitan areas for commuting to work by walking ranged from 8% - 15%.  Missoula was not on the list.

US Census 2009

Healthy People 2010 Target (Re-development of these targets for 2020 is still underway)

  • 25% of adults walk to do errands if the distance is less than 1 mile
  • 50% of children walk to school if the distance is less than 1 mile

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Related Data

Benefits of Walking (from the Center for Walking):



Roadway improvements to accommodate pedestrians and bicycles can also enhance safety for motorists. For example, adding paved shoulders on two-lane roads has been shown to reduce the frequency of run-off-road, head-on, and sideswipe motor vehicle crashes.

The 1995 National Personal Transportation Survey (NPTS) found that approximately 40% of all trips are less than 2 miles in length – which represents a 10-minute bike ride or a 30-minute walk. In fact, a 1995 Rodale Press survey found that Americans want the opportunity to walk or bike instead of drive: 40% of U.S. adults say they would commute by bike if safe facilities were available.



Quality of life:

Better conditions for bicycling and walking have intangible benefits. In a growing number of communities, bicycling and walking are considered as indicators of a community's livability, a factor that has a profound impact on attracting businesses and workers as well as tourism. The recreation benefits of bicycling and walking are clear - according to the Report of the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors (1990), nearly 90 percent of Americans age 12 and older go outdoors for recreation. This research found that 60 million Americans are bicyclists and 100 million walk for pleasure.

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Montana pedestrian/vehicle crash statistics

Journey to Work - From US Census Bureau:

This information is based upon: all workers ≥ age 16; for 1 week in April (when the weather wasn't very good); the primary worker for the household only; for their primary job only; and their primary method only. College students were not included.

US Census 2000


Related Websites

Active Living - Missoula information on physical activity and healthy eating, for your own health, and regarding the health of Missoula.

About Walking

The Walking Site

A flier about walking your dog!

A picture of a dog sitting down looking up.

Links to health data, statistics and information from many national sources.


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