D.C. ranks among cities where most people walk to work

Research shows that walkers who expend the same amount of energy as runners have similar results in reducing their risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. (Thinkstock)

WASHINGTON — The D.C. area is home to many public transit options from buses to bike-sharing — so it may come as no surprise that the nation’s capital ranked highly among the cities where most people walk to work.

24/7 Wall St. ranked the cities where employees walk to work by combining recently released U.S. Census Bureau figures about workers who walked between 2008 and 2012 with information gathered by walkability-ranking company Walk Score.

The research showed D.C. ranked highly when it comes to walkability, biking friendliness and the quality of transit systems. About 12 percent of employees walk to work in D.C., giving it the second-highest ranking of employees who walk to work.

Also adding to D.C.’s high ranking is the percent of residents who don’t have cars. In D.C., about 38 percent of households don’t have cars — the fourth highest percentage in the nation, according to 24/7 Wall St.

“Attractions such as the White House, the city’s 18 national monuments and the city’s annual Cherry Blossom festival could make walking to work a more pleasant experience,” 24/7 Wall St. notes.

Boston residents were the most likely Americans to walk to work, with more than 15 percent doing so as of 2012. In Boston, there are about 37 percent of households with no cars.

Below is a list of the 10 cities where the most people walk to work followed by the percentage of the population that walks to work.

  1. Boston, Massachusetts (15.1 percent)
  2. Washington, D.C. (12.1 percent)
  3. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (11.3 percent)
  4. New York City, New York (10.3 percent)
  5. San Francisco, California (9.9 percent)
  6. Madison, Wisconsin (9.1 percent)
  7. Seattle, Washington (9.1 percent)
  8. Honolulu, Hawaii (9 percent)
  9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (8.6 percent)
  10. Jersey City, New Jersey (8.5 percent)

Around the country, just 2.9 percent of people walked to work as of 2012, according to the census data. Massive regional differences — such as climate, infrastructure and commuters’ preferences — can shape how many people walk to work, census data shows.

“While commuters choose walking for various reasons — ranging from lack of resources to simply residing near their place of business — many of the cities reviewed were also pleasant places to walk,” 24/7 Wall St. says.

People who walk to work can enjoy more than an appealing stroll. They can improve their health, too. Walking half an hour a day reduces the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and stroke, while helping people improve their blood pressure and lower their body weight, according to the American Heart Association.

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