City Residents More Likely to Walk to Work, Use Transit: Survey

Thursday, September 22, 2011

New Yorkers fret about finding parking spots and traffic congestion, but it turns out city residents are most likely to walk or use public transportation to get to work.

New Yorkers in almost every neighborhood mostly take transit or walk to work, with the notable exceptions of the entire borough of Staten Island and eastern Queens, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

A big chunk of Lower Manhattan residents — about a third — walk to work. No other neighborhood in the five boroughs came close to that number of walkers.  

Transit use has been steadily rising since 2006 — from 54.2 percent of New Yorkers in the five boroughs in 2006 to 55.7 percent in 2010.  The U.S. Census said that’s a statistically significant sample.   

By contrast, 22.7 percent of New Yorkers drive to work, down from 23.6 percent in 2006.  Fewer New Yorkers are also carpooling, down to 5.0 percent from 5.7 percent.  

The numbers on transit and personal car use in New York City buck a national trend. Across the country driving to work alone is up from 76.0 percent to 76.6 percent. Transit use, which had an uptick from 2006 to 2009, saw a decline between 2009 and 2010, from 5.0 percent to 4.9 percent. Carpooling and walking to work also declined during this one-year period.  

Commute times have held more or less steady over this period.  The median commute for New Yorkers in the five boroughs is just under 40 minutes, compared to about 25 minutes nationwide.


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Comments [4]

Tim Evans

Good timing with this story -- I just wrote a similar post on my organization's blog about transit commuting in New Jersey. Consistent with your map, the places in New Jersey with the highest rates of transit commuting tend to be the ones with the best access to the transit system focused on Manhattan, while rates elsewhere in the state frequently are no better than the national rate of 5 percent. With such an extensive transit system available to it, it seems like New Jersey ought to be able to manage a higher rate of transit usage for people commuting within the state. But at least Hudson and Essex counties (home to Jersey City and Newark, respectively), both of which feature light-rail systems newly built or extended in the last decade, offer encouraging evidence of what can happen when New Jersey focuses on improving access to its own home-grown centers.

Sep. 22 2011 03:07 PM
Niccolo Machiavelli

Yeah Jim, I think we do need the Census Bureau to officiate in the numbers discussions. We must agree on numbers to go on to other value-freighted discussions. Sometimes we agree with the Census Bureau, in this case actually. Sometimes we disagree, like when they counted the residents of public housing for political apportionment purposes.

Sep. 22 2011 09:15 AM
Steve from Brooklyn

We clearly need to stop building all these car lanes. Especially since so many drivers flout basic traffic laws, speed, run red lights, and kill so many people.

We need wider sidewalks, bike lanes, and dedicated bus lanes.

Sep. 22 2011 09:02 AM
Jim from NYC

We need the Census Bureau to tell us this?

Sep. 22 2011 08:31 AM

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