Tom Vanderbilt owns the “how we get around” beat, and we’re excited for his new series on walking, the first installment of which was published Tuesday. The juicy bits:

  • Americans walk less than citizens of “any other industrialized nation.” (OK, technically just Switzerland, Australia, Japan, and Britain, according to the reports cited in the story. But most likely everywhere else, too.)
  • Walking will save your life: “Walking six miles a week was associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s … walking can help improve your child’s academic performance; make you smarter; reduce depression; lower blood pressure; even raise one’s self-esteem,” Vanderbilt writes.
  • Pedestrians don’t count to traffic engineers: In modeling software, people are “a mere ‘statistical distribution’” or “implicit ‘vehicular delay.’”
  • The very word pedestrian is an insult to people who aren’t driving — the Greek word it derives from means “prosaic, plain, commonplace, uninspired.”

Screw that. One of the most inspired aspects of walking is that it opens up your world to the commonplace and to inspiration — walking gives you time to think, notice your surroundings, and make connections to the world. Cars just get you where you’re going.