Results are in from the California Household Travel Survey and they look good for alternative transportation—use has doubled since 2000. The survey also says a lot about the surveyor—Caltrans, long known for counting only vehicle trips.

2 minute read

March 12, 2014, 11:00 AM PDT

By Irvin Dawid

"While Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) has, for decades, focused on building more roadways, department spokesman Mark Dinger said things are changing," writes Sarah Rohrs.

The old Caltrans would just look at what we can do to improve travel for people in cars and trucks. Now we are actively including ways to accommodate more bicycle and pedestrian uses, and building park-and-ride lots so people can carpool," Dinger said.

From the FAQ of the California Household Travel Survey: "The CHTS is an in-depth study of the state's household travel and activity patterns. The California Department of Transportation, Caltrans, and its partner agencies [eighteen Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) and other state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission], will be asking more than 60,000 households to identify where and how they traveled on a specific, designated travel day (24 hours)."

Rohrs writes, "Surveyors picked households and had each member of the family track their typical travel days by recording uses in a diary. What they found is that 23 percent of the household trips were made without a vehicle -- by walking, biking and public transportation."

The survey results appear to be consistent with the findings of the American Public Transportation Association (posted here) showing a 37% increase in transit usage since 1995.

The data will be used to forecast future highway and travel demands, greenhouse gas emissions, and what can be done to improve alternative transit uses for state residents, Dinger said.

Dinger seems to be reflecting the findings of last month's State Smart Transportation Initiative report on Caltrans. The survey results only emphasize the need for Caltrans to think beyond its traditional roads and congestion base and enter the "modern, post-Interstate building era", as the report states it its executive summary [PDF].

California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly, whose agency includes Caltrans and who commissioned the above report, indicated as much in a press release:

“This increasing interest in many transportation choices is another reason why we are on the path to more sustainability in California,” said Kelly. “Caltrans will continue improving the state’s transportation system to help ensure Californians have many viable choices for how to travel.”

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 in Napa-Solano Times-Herald

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.