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According to a newly released study from the U.S. Census Bureau, most people in the country commute to work by car, truck, or van, with only a small fraction of the population using public transit. The use of public transit for commuting was reportedly heavily concentrated in the New York metropolitan area.
In 2019, only 5% got to work using public transportation. On the other hand, 84.8% commuted in a vehicle that was not operated by the government — with 75.9% of those driving alone when they did so.
In terms of the 25 major metropolitan areas, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim region ranked sixth for public transportation commuting. In this area, there are 310, 932 commuters, representing 4.8% of all workers. The top three areas were New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.
Per their report, 12.1% of workers reported traveling by public transportation when the Bureau first collected information about work travel in the 1960 Census. “Over the next decade, this figure would decline to 8.9%, to 6.4% in 1980, and to 5.3% in 1990. The 2000 Census reported a historical low of 4.7% of workers commuting by public transportation. Since then, the share of workers commuting by public transportation has hovered around 5%,” the report read.
In 2019, more people in the U.S. commuted to work by riding in a taxi than by riding in a public transit light rail car, streetcar, or trolley. According to the Census Bureau, 385,756 workers commuted by taxi, and 242,776 did so by light rail, streetcar, or trolley. And of the more than 7.7 million that commuted nationwide through public transit, 34.9% did so by bus.
In total, 156,941,346 people in the country worked in 2019. The largest number of these — 133,054,328 — got to work in a car, truck, or van. Of these, 119,153,349 drove alone, and 13,900,979 carpooled with others.
Moreover, 305,722 reportedly commuted by bike to work, and workers who walked to work numbered a bit over 4.1 million. These numbers are expected to change since 2020 saw a bike boom because of the coronavirus pandemic. The popularity of bikes, e-bikes, and bike-sharing programs is on the rise because of things like social-distancing, sustainability, and accessibility, according to the New York Times. The market research firm NPD Group said sales of e-bikes grew 145% in 2020 compared to 2019, outpacing sales of all bikes, which were also up 65%.
In 2019, 8,970,800 worked from home. Work from home went from 4.3% in 2010 to 5.7% in 2019. But post COVID-19 pandemic, these numbers are expected to increase. And though traffic has gone back to its pre-pandemic levels in Los Angeles as the state has begun re-opening, it is highly likely that a large chunk of people are likely to continue working from home at least part of the time post-pandemic. This will likely affect overall car usage and future vehicle sales.
According to the results of a new nationwide study, a staggering 91.6% of Downey workers drive to work, spending an average of 5.3 hours of commute time per week. Nationally, the average for vehicles per person is 0.85. In Downey, the total is 0.79.