U.S. Census Bureau Releases First-Ever Report on Biking and Walking to Work

A report focused solely on gathering statistics of people who walk and bike to work has been released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to results, bicycling and walking make up a relatively small por­tion of commuting activity in the United States, but these non-motorized travel modes play important roles within many of the nation’s local transportation sys­tems. Infrastructure that supports bicycling and walking expands transportation options and may complement other forms of transportation by supplementing seg­ments of trips.

Several state and local agencies have taken steps to promote pedestrian and bicycle travel. Strategies to accommodate non-motorized travel vary across communities, but may include sidewalk modi­fications, pedestrian-oriented commercial centers, or bicycle lanes to name a few. In recent years, the number of cities with bicycle sharing programs has increased considerably.

These efforts reflect ongoing changes in infrastructure and travel options across the nation’s dynamic transportation systems. Such changes influ­ence decisions people make about their trip to work. The American Community Survey (ACS) is an important tool for tracking how the nation’s travel patterns change across time and places.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SURVEY

• The number of U.S. workers who traveled to work by bicycle increased from about 488,000 in 2000 to about 786,000 in 2008–2012, a larger percentage increase than that of any other commuting mode.

• The combined rate of bicycle commuting for the 50 largest U.S. cities increased from 0.6 percent in 2000 to 1.0 percent in 2008–2012.

• The Northeast showed the high­est rate of walking to work at 4.7 percent of workers, while the West had the highest rate of biking to work at 1.1 percent. The South had the lowest rate of biking and walking to work.

• Among large cities, Portland, OR, has the highest bicycle com­muting rate at 6.1 percent.

• Workers living in principal cities walked to work at a rate of 4.3 percent, compared with 2.4 percent for workers in suburbs.

• Several “college towns” showed high rates of walking to work, including Ithaca, NY, and Athens, OH, where about 42.0 percent and 37.0 percent of workers walked to work, respectively.

• Younger workers,those aged 16 to 24, had the highest rate of walking to work at 6.8 percent.

• At 0.8 percent, the rate of bicycle commuting for men was more than double that of women at 0.3 percent.

• At 0.9 percent, the most edu­cated workers, those with a graduate or professional degree, had the highest rate of bicycle commuting, followed by the least educated workers, those who did not graduate from high school at 0.7 percent.

• Workers who walked to work had an average commute time of 11.5 minutes, considerably shorter than that of bicycle com­muters at 19.3 minutes, and all other workers who did not work at home at about 25.9 minutes.

Read the full survey here: http://www.census.gov/prod/2014pubs/acs-25.pdf