We’ve been writing a lot this week about the national shift away from car travel and toward transit, biking, and walking. Yesterday, Washington area officials released new data that indicates the DC region is at the forefront of that trend.
The region added half a million new workers between 2000 and 2011, according to a report by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board [PDF]. During that period, transit was the fastest-growing mode of travel for commuters, soaring from an 11.8 percent mode share to 15.4 percent, nearly a one-third increase. That’s an additional 162,000 regular transit commuters across the greater DC area.
More than half of that increase has occurred since 2007, probably spurred in part by the recession, though undoubtedly helped along by many other factors.
Puzzlingly, the major exception to that rule was among federal government workers: All of their increased transit ridership happened between 2000 and 2007, when mode share jumped from 19 percent to 28 percent, where it remained in 2011. That means transit ridership among federal employees wasn’t affected by the transition from a Republican to a Democratic administration or by the recession.
Region-wide, 65.8 percent of commuters drive alone, a slight drop from 67.2 percent in 2000. Driving alone decreased or stayed the same in every jurisdiction but Prince William County, where admittedly unreliable data shows it rose from 74 percent to 77 percent.
The changes in the region are happening even more intensely in the city of Washington alone. In DC, 40.2 percent of workers commute via transit, compared to 32.3 percent in 2000. Meanwhile, the share of DC workers driving alone shrank from 39 percent to 33.6 percent.