As much as the wishful thinking of urbanists hope to see the end of the car as the preferred mode of work transportation, it continues to rule, as this story from New Geography reports.
The major metropolitan area journey to work data is out, reported in the American Community Survey ‘s 2014 one year edition. The news is that there is not much news. Little has changed since 2010 despite all the talk about “peak car” and a supposed massive shift towards transit. Single occupant driving remains by far the largest mode of transport to work in the 53 major metropolitan areas (with over 1,000,000 population), having moved from 73.5 percent of commutes to 73.6 percent. Little upward change in single occupant commuting can be expected, since it is probably already a virtual saturation rate.
The only significant change is the most important trend that is occurred for decades in US commuting: the reduction in carpooling. Between 2010 and 2014, carpooling dropped from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent in the major metropolitan areas.
Transit continued to hold on to third place, with an increase from 7.9 percent to 8.1 percent in the major metropolitan areas. Working at home, including telecommuting, continued its more dramatic rise, from 4.4 percent in 2010 to 4.7 percent in 2014. Walking remained constant at 2.8 percent, while cycling continued its increase but from a small 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent. Other modes of transport, such as taxis and motorcycles remained constant at 1.2 percent.
In the major metropolitan areas, transit continued to lead over working at home (8.1 percent compared to 4.7 percent), though at the national level the margin was much smaller (5.2 percent compared to 4.5 percent). Transit strength was far more concentrated principally in a few metropolitan areas with “legacy” cities and, as a result, working at home exceeded transit’s market share in 39 of the 53 markets.
Should carpooling continue its downward trend, it would fall below transit before the end of the decade among the major metropolitan areas (now at 8.8 percent compared to transit 8.1 percent), though the carpooling lead is sufficient to retain second-place far longer at the national level (9.2 percent compared to 5.2 percent). As in working at home, however, transit’s strength is highly concentrated relative to carpooling. Transit leads carpooling only in the six metropolitan areas with transit legacy cities (New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington), while carpooling leads in 47 metropolitan areas.