Is there a relationship between carless households and density of college graduates? Derek Thompson of The Atlantic connected the dots using Michael Sivak's latest 'peak car' study and saw a relationship between the two variables.
"The members of the The Atlantic Business Channel (where Derek Thompson works as a senior editor) all live in New York City. At various points in our lives, we have all lived in Washington, D.C., too. And these two cities...happen to be the two metros with the highest share of non-car households in America, according to the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute," writes Thompson.
When Thompson looked at the graph (located in the article) of the 30 cities showing which metros have the highest and lowest rates of "non-car households" (as well as the U.S. average), the first thing he thought of was not what the researcher told The Wall Street Journal:
The five cities with the highest proportions of households without a vehicle were all among the top five cities in a recent ranking of the quality of public transportation," said Michael Sivak, director of Sustainable Worldwide Transportation at Michigan.
"When I see New York, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco [the top-five, respectively, no-car households], the first thing I think is: These are all the classic, even cliche, magnets for elite college graduates," he wrote.
So I compared the cities' non-car ownership rates to their share of bachelor's-degree holders. And it turns out there is a statistically significant relationship between being college-dense and car-light. [Scroll across the interactive dot graph (under the aforementioned graph in article) that reveals "% no-car, % college"]
Thompson recognizes that "what we're looking at here is an underlying variable of city density. Highly productive cities that are magnets for talented (and rich) people tend to be crowded with twentysomethings trying to start their careers. Small crowded cities get clogged, and clogged cities require the kind of effective public transportation that makes cars an expensive nice-to-have rather than a have-to-have," he writes.
The theory doesn't appear to hold, though, for Austin and San Jose, the major city of Silicon Valley, ranked third-to-last and last, respectively, in the ranking of carless households.
Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape
Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.
4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design
With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.
Oregon Town Seeks Funding for Ambitious Resilience Plan
Like other rural communities, Grants Pass is eager to access federal funding aimed at sustainability initiatives, but faces challenges when it comes to meeting grant requirements.
How Infrastructure Communicates Values
The presence and quality of sidewalks, curb cuts, and other basic elements of infrastructure can speak to much more than just economic decisions.
Despite High Ridership, Intercity Bus Lines Are Eliminating Stations
Riders on the ‘forgotten stepchild’ of the U.S. transportation system find themselves waiting for buses curbside as Greyhound sells off its real estate in many U.S. cities.
Buffalo Residents Push Back on Proposed Cap Park
State and local officials say the $1 billion project will heal neighborhoods divided by the Kensington Expressway, but community members say the proposed plan will exacerbate already poor air quality in the area.
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
Lassen County Planning and Building Services
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.