Kat Aaron is an Associate Producer for WNYC, where she is part of Transportation Nation, a public radio reporting project that combines the work of multiple newsrooms to provide coverage of how we build, rebuild and get around the nation.
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%.