Boise Bikes More Than New York

Thursday, May 08, 2014 - 12:20 PM

Between 2000 and today, the number of people who ride bikes to work increased 60% - up to a whopping 0.6 percent. That's according to "Modes Less Traveled," a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau (pdf). In 2000, 488,000 people were biking, and 786,000 people bike to work now.

Portland, Oregon, had the most bike commuters – more than six percent. Which shouldn't surprise anyone who's watched Portlandia.

New York City isn’t even in the top 15 biking cities. That top fifteen list includes usual suspects like San Francisco and Madison, Wisconsin, and some surprises, like New Orleans and Boise. 

Black workers are the least likely to commute by bike. People who identified as “some other race or two or more races” are the most likely to ride to work, followed by Hispanic or Latino workers.

Men and women are equally likely to walk to work, but two times as many men than women ride to work. People in low-income households bike and walk in far greater numbers than higher-income commuters, a disparity that “may reflect financial necessity and lower rates of automobile ownership,” as the Census report notes. 

The number of walkers has been falling steadily since 1980, from well over five percent of commuters to less than three percent today. New York State and Alaska have the high rates of walking to work.

Among major cities, New York comes in fourth for walking to work, behind Boston, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. 

In cities big and small, rural and urban areas, most people do drive, more than 86% of commuters nationwide.

One other interesting tidbit: Highly-educated workers, people with graduate or professional degrees, walk to work the most. Although nationally, it’s still not a lot – 0.9%. The second-highest rate of walking is among workers who do not have high school degrees, at 0.7%. 


Comments [4]


Fix the math please. 0.6 percent and 60% are NOT the same value.

Oct. 28 2014 05:52 PM
Census Dude from Washington Heights

New Yokers are multimodial.

I agree with staibob. The comparison to Boise is not just. You could compare sections of the city with an equivalent population and get greater mode share in certain areas too. Bicycling is definitely under-counted in the census. It's also heavily utilized for errand running in this city which is why our streets are full of them.

Even our walkers are under counted. You have people walking the same amount or more than any of those cities, but it is omitted because a portion of their trip includes mass transit.

May. 09 2014 01:06 PM
staibob from Brooklyn, NY

1% of New Yorkers bike to work or school, that's 84,000 people.

The population of Boise is 212,000, so 3.7% of that is only 7,800 people.

(Never mind that the census systematically underestimates bicyclists because of the way the question is worded and the way multi-modal trips are counted.)

May. 09 2014 11:56 AM
Tal Barzilai from Pleasantville, NY

What's there to expect about more riding bicycles in Boise than in NYC. That city is not as dense, so there is more room for riding bicycles hence using the Idaho stop, which is too dangerous to use in a place such as NYC due to the density. Honestly, I just find riding a bicycle in a densely populated city overall to be dangerous. As for walking, I can see why Boise isn't big on that considering its location and probably not a lot viable transportation, which makes driving more needed. I've seen what that city looks like from the air, and it's not a very big one, plus it looks like it's in the middle of nowhere, but that's probably just me saying that.

May. 08 2014 05:58 PM

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