News Release

Significant Increase in Transit Commuting Over Last Decade

May 15, 2013

From 2000 to 2011, the metropolitan Washington region added almost half a million new workers, and a new analysis shows that of all the ways to get to work, the percentage of local commuters choosing transit grew the most. Workers commuting on public transit increased almost 4 percent—from 11.8 to 15.4 percent—according to data presented to the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) during its May 2013 meeting.

The analysis, which was based on periodic U.S. Census data and the Transportation Planning Board’s Household Travel Survey, showed the share of transit commuting increased in almost every jurisdiction. In the District of Columbia, for example, a greater percentage of workers now take transit (40.2 percent in 2011, 32.3 percent in 2000) than drive to work alone (33.6 percent in 2011, 39 percent in 2000). Arlington County leads Northern Virginia jurisdictions with 30.6 percent of workers taking transit. In suburban Maryland, Prince George’s County’s has the highest percentage of workers taking transit—19.4 percent of commuters.

The percentage of area commuters driving alone to work has decreased slightly from 67.2 percent in 2000 to 65.8 percent in 2011 according to the analysis. The percentage of people carpooling also declined from 13 percent in 2000 to 9.7 percent in 2011.

Across the region, biking to work has grown over the past decade to 0.7 percent. In D.C., the percentage of bicycle commuters grew from 1.4 to 3.5 percent. The percentage of people who worked at home increased slightly from 4 to 5 percent. Loudoun County leads all local jurisdictions with 7.3 percent of people working from home. The percentage of people who walk to work remained fairly constant—it accounted for 3.2 percent of area commuters in 2011.

In addition to highlighting individual commuting modes, the analysis focused on changes in where workers live and work. It found that the number of workers living outside the region increased by 40% between 2000 and 2007, but has remained about constant since that time and shows a flattening of the growth in long distance commuting from outside the region.

Between 2000 and 2011, there have been decreases in commuters who live in D.C., Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and work in Fairfax County, Fairfax City and Falls Church. There have also been decreases in commuters who live in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties who work outside the D.C. region.

The cities and counties examined in the analysis included the District of Columbia, City of Alexandria, and Charles, Frederick, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William, counties. The analysis helps inform transportation planners and elected officials on how commuting patterns change over time.

To view the Transportation Planning Board analysis,  click here


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