D.C. commuters are ditching cars for alternative modes of transportation

Rush HourAccording to a study released this month by the U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group called Transportation in Transition, D.C. commuters have increasingly begun to utilize mass transportation and bicycling in place of the typical mode of transportation, such as cars. In fact, those who work in the District have been abandoning ship (or should we say, cars) at faster rates than almost any other city in the U.S. aside from New York City.

The report indicates that as many as 99 out of the 100 largest urbanized regions in the nation have experienced a decrease in the number of people traveling to work by car. The proportion of commuters using private cars in D.C. dropped by 4.7 percent, coming in a close second to the Big Apple with the largest overall decrease in the U.S. of 4.8 percet. A 4.9 percet decline in the number of vehicle-miles traveled per capita and 7 percent increase in the number of passenger miles from 2006 to 2011 also reflect the general shift away from car usage for commuting.

In fact, well over 50 percet of D.C. employees commute by walking, biking, or using the public transportation. The majority of these commutes are via transit; however, bicycling has become an increasingly popular mode of transportation over the past few years. The District’s 0.3 percent increase of bike usage from 2006 to 2011 far surpasses the measly national average of 0.19 percent. Considering 75 percent of the 250,000 monthly rides from Capital Bikeshare are used to get to and from the office, these numbers are not very surprising.

Another study conducted by the U.S. PIRG reveals that one reason for the drastic decline in car usage across the nation as a means for commuting is because in every single one of the 100 largest urban areas, there has been an increase in the percentage of residents working from home. Similarly, there has been an increase in 84 of the 100 of these areas in the proportion of households without cars. Other suggested reasons for these drastic changes in transportation are higher fuel costs and less people with driver’s licenses, a trend especially prominent among millennials.

It is predicted that the era of private vehicle ownership will gradually give way to that of public transportation, and there will be a much needed shift in focus away from the current highway-centered city plans to ones of centralized, efficient mass transit. While it may be sad for those who will truly miss sitting for hours in horrendous rush-hour traffic, Vox thinks that traveling to work in electrified pod cars seems like a pretty fun time, too.

Photo: MSVG via flickr

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