Monday, October 18, 2010

Reasons to Be Car Free in DC: We're # 3!

Mount P's CaBi station is often empty--a sign of high usage
Not number 1. That's New York, by a lot. And Boston's  number 2. But we're number 3! 

Thanks to Greater Greater Washington for pointing me towards the results of the US Census American Community Survey. According to the numbers, the District ranks third among the largest U.S. cities with 50.4% of commutes by means other than automobile. 

Count me in. I was a bus guy, then Metro, now I'm trying bikeshare. Walk to work...? Maybe on a realllllly nice weather day. And I'd have to wake up fairly early, but it could be done. But seriously, what a great trend. Washington trailed only New York (66%) and Boston (51%) in percentage of non automobile commutes. Essentially this means that commutes by auto (alone and carpool) make up less than half of the city's total. The majority of DC commutes are via walking (11.1%), biking ( 2.2%), or mass transit (37.1%). Portland had the highest commuting percentage by bicycle (5.8%); Boston by walking (14.1%),New York by transit (54.9%).

And those are 2009 numbers. Looking forward to 2015 or 2020. I could see those numbers increasing. With Capital Bikeshare, expansion of the Orange Line Metro, addition of street cars and tweaked MetroBus service, the capital region and specifically the District are working to move more people more efficiently. Not every city or metropolitan area is able or willing, but I'm glad to be living in one of them. 

Broken Metro escalators: check. Empty bikeshare stations: check. Bunching buses: check. Even in the face of all the occasional inconveniences we still live in a town in which there are multiple ways to get around morning noon and night: check and double check. We can always strive for more efficient, service and a better customer experience. And maybe by the 2020 Census, 2.2% will be commuting by car and 22% will be biking. Pretty cool.