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Commuters are driving less in 99% of the biggest U.S. cities

Posting in Cities
 
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A new report shows a long-term change in how U.S. commuters in large cities are getting to work.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund put together government data on commuting in the largest U.S. urbanized areas -- an area larger than a city but smaller than a metropolitan area -- in its latest report. In 99 of the 100 largest U.S. urban areas, the report found the number of commuters using a private vehicle to get to work -- either by driving alone or through carpooling -- declined. 

Here are the cities where the shift is happening fastest:
 
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 Interestingly, the cities where driving declined the most were also less impacted by the recession, the report says, based on unemployment, income, and poverty statistics.

"There is a shift away from driving," said Phineas Baxandall, a senior analyst for the U.S. PIRG Education Fund. "The cities in this report are home to most of America’s population and are engines of the economy. Policy leaders need to wake up and realize the driving boom is over. Instead of expanding new highways, our government leaders should focus on investing in public transit and biking for the future."

Other highlights from the study:
  • The average number of miles driven per resident fell in nearly three-quarters of America’s largest urbanized areas, from 2006-2011.
  • All 100 of the largest urbanized areas saw an increase in the number of people working from home, since 2000.
  • The proportion of households without cars increased in 84 out of the 100 largest U.S. urbanized areas, from 2006-2011.
  • The proportion of commuters bicycling to work increased in 85 out of 100 of the largest U.S. urbanized areas between 2000 and 2007-2011.
Read the full report here.

Photo: Flickr/Charles

— By on December 4, 2013, 2:38 PM PST

Tyler Falk

Contributing Editor

Tyler Falk freelance journalist based in Washington, D.C. Previously, he was with Smart Growth America and Grist. He holds a degree from Goshen College. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure