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Okinawans are walking less, and driving a whole lot more

Date Posted: 2007-11-09

Okinawa Prefecture has confirmed what everyone driving the streets already knew. More people are driving their cars.
A survey of 17 cities, towns and villages to determine personal transportation habits showed Okinawan people are simply not walking much, and the younger people are, the less they walk. The study was conducted among 66,000 people last October and November, with results announced this week in Naha City.
Comparing survey results with research conducted in 1989, Prefecture officials found the number of cars on Okinawa streets and highways have increased 135%. More than 67% of respondents said they use their cars, even for the shortest of trips. Seventeen years ago, 45% of those surveyed said they used cars for routine travel. Linked to the 50% increase in automobile use was a strong decline in the number of people walking.
In 1989, 32.7% of those surveyed said they walked. Now, only 20.5% say they walk while performing routine chores. Prefecture officials say they’ll urge people to walk more, even if only for their own health.
The survey showed 6.2% of the respondents use bicycles, 3.4% take the bus, 1% use the monorail, and 1.3% take taxis. Officials say another factor they expect to increase traffic is the rising number of rental car businesses now becoming popular.

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