Brit Liggett

US Census Reveals the Top 10 US Cities for Mass Transit Commuting

by , 09/26/11
filed under: Green Transportation

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The Census Bureau just released a report on the commuting behavior of Americans in 2009. The commuting report is part of the American Community Survey, and it details the average commute time for Americans along with their mode of transportation. Although seven-tenths of Americans living in metro areas reside within 3/4 of a mile of public transit, only 4.9 percent of workers regularly took mass transit to work in 2009. Nine of the ten cities on this list have less than 15% of the population commuting on mass transit. If those are our highest statistics, perhaps Americans need a bit of a mass transit education along with additional infrastructure support.

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The New York City metro area topped the list with the most mass transit commuters – roughly 1/3 of the population uses public transportation to get to work. Coming in a very distant second was the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area, where 14.6% of the population hops on mass transit daily. The Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area is a close third, with 14% of the population on the metro and buses daily.

The list quickly descends from 11% in the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy metro area (fourth place) to 8.2% in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue metro area (tenth place). To round out the disheartening numbers, 76.1% of Americans drove alone to work in 2009 and just .6% rode their bikes. Foreign-born workers were also twice as likely to hop on the train as native workers — with a 10.8% mass transit rate for those not born in the US. Although it may not be practical to install enough infrastructure to allow everyone in the US to travel to work by public transit — think of all those wide open spaces — we can certainly do more to convince people within major metro areas that the subways, the trains, the buses, the ferries and the commuter rails are their friends.

+ Read the report

Via The Huffington Post

Lead photo by Hyku

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3 Comments

  1. stephrodrig87 November 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    If people are so turned off by public transportation, they should try another way of getting to work: carpooling. Many people don’t think they can find people to carpool with but with all of the websites out there designed for creating/finding rideshare-partners, it’s harder to not find a carpool than it is to actually find one.

    I’ve tried Craigslist and eRideshare, but one of my favorites is Amovens.com. It’s easy to post rides or find commutes. They even host holiday give-aways, such as a free $25 gas card for people who successfully set-up a carpool for the week of Thanksgiving. I would definitely recommend giving any of the above sites a try!

  2. suaveant September 27, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    People don’t use mass transit because they don’t like it, not because they need an education. At rush hours they are crammed, most of the time you are in a confined space with people you would cross the street to avoid if you were walking. Face it, people don’t want to deal with other people, and THAT’s the major failing of public transit.

  3. caeman September 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    “…Although seven-tenths of Americans living in metro areas reside within 3/4 of a mile of public transit…”

    3/4 of a mile is a little over 3900 feet, about 13 football fields. That might be your reason right there. Why walk upwards to 3,937 feet when your car is 20 feet away? And then you are parking right there at your work, instead of having to walk a possibly long distance from the public transit stop.

    Please, try to keep in mind that a vast majority of the American landscape is NOT a big city. Though the density of its populations may make it seem like the majority of the people live in in the big metros, we don’t.

    Public Transit systems lead to a lot of government waste and tax payer fraud through over-budget contracts with “friends of the politician”, unions and every spiraling maintenance costs without the constraints of a competitive system to keep everyone honest. Public transit is a racket and only the people that win are the politicians getting pay backs and the contractors that over-charge.

    New York City, with it’s 13 million people, cannot even turn a profit, let alone break even.

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