New Census data out this week shows the share of Americans commuting by alternatives to the automobile continues to rise. In two-thirds of 342 metropolitan areas for which data was provided, public transit use was up, while solo driving dropped.
Although the headline in USA Today celebrated "Fewer Americans commuting solo," as Wendell Cox points out, the actual decline from 2010 to 2011 was only .17 percent of market share and the raw number of people commuting alone actually increased. This decrease may not be something to scoff at, however, as all modes of commuting except for driving alone and car pooling (which decreased by a mere .01 percent) showed increases in their market share between 2010 and 2011.
It should be noted though, that the broader trend from 2000 to 2011 still shows a marked increase in single-occupant commuting.
Can the recent increases in commuting by transit, biking, and walking be explained solely by the "dismal economy and skyrocketing gas prices," or is a broader shift in commuting preferences, increasing urban population growth, and investments by cities in expanding non-automotive-oriented infrastructure having an impact?
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