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August 15, 2014 5:09 am
A recent Census release discussed changes in bicycling and walking to work since 2000. Local governments have actively promoted walking and bicycling, sometimes as explicit criteria for new development.
Based on the Census data, tabulations from the National Association of Homebuilders show that from 2000 to 2012, the U.S. added 12.7 million workers, and the largest change in commuting was 10.4 million more Americans driving themselves to work alone in a vehicle.
Although the share of workers driving alone was lower in 2012 than in 2005, there was something of a spike in 2005—so the driving-alone share was actually higher in 2012 than in 2006-2009.
Next largest was a nearly 2 million increase in Americans working at home—while car pooling actually declined by 1.9 million. Other changes, including changes in bicycling and walking, were considerably smaller.
In summary, since 2000, the U.S. has added over 10 million workers, and driving alone remains the dominant means of commuting. The changes in numbers of bicyclers and walkers over that time, while positive, are small in comparison. Any success in keeping cars off the road during rush hour has been largely due to letting electrons and photons do the commuting while people work from home. The ongoing decline in car pooling, meanwhile, has been a largely untold story.
Published with permission from RISMedia.
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