Commuting by Car is Losing Favor in New York State

nyc mode share chart image

Image: Streetsblog, CC. Data: U.S. Census.
Transit Gaining Momentum Despite Lack of Investments
Looking at the latest census data in the U.S. and comparing it to the previous batch from 2000, it seems like there's reason to rejoice when it comes to transportation in the state of New York. It was already pretty obvious that New York City would be one of the places where the most people would use transit to commute in the U.S., but in the state as a whole (in 134 out of 150 Assembly districts, and 57 out of 62 State Senate districts) there's a significant trend away from driving to work.
new york city subway photo

Photo: Lana Palmer, CC

"Across the state, the share of commuters who drive to work fell from 65.5 percent in 2000 to 61.6 percent in 2009, a sizable shift. In New York City, the number fell from 32.9 percent to 29 percent." You can find more analysis and details by our friends at Streetsblog.

I'd like to preemptively point out that these numbers take into account changes in the number of workers (people losing their jobs, new jobs being created), so the trend really seems to be real (whatever the reasons) and not just a statistical artifact.

The other thing that needs to be pointed out is that the increases in transit use would probably be higher if we - as a society - invested more into it. Many places have shown progress with new bike lanes, new buses, etc. But it's still small potatoes compared to what could be done. I'm particularly thinking of Bus Rapid Transit; it is a lot less expensive than building subways and more effective than buses that need to share the road with cars.

Via Streetsblog NYC
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