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Auto Use Holds Steady in San Francisco

Even as innovations like ridesharing take hold in tech-friendly San Francisco, the percentage of trips taken by personal auto is stuck at just under 50 percent.
February 5, 2015, 9am PST | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency released the results of a survey indicating that the use of private cars in the city has changed hardly at all since 2012. That's mostly good news for the city, because only 48 percent of trips are taken by private automobile—and only 27 percent of trips are taken by solo drivers. The recent numbers contradict an earlier report that suggested that 62 percent of trips were by private car; SFMTA officials insist that their methodology is more accurate. 

These numbers indicate that the city is continuing to meet its goal, set in 2012, to keep the percentage of trips via personal auto in the city at or below 50 percent. City officials still worry that the city's growth still puts it on a course for gridlock in the coming years. As well, some contend that rides taken by services like Uber and Lyft—known as TNCs in California—are no better than solo trips because those drivers "are not already going to the destination whereas with carpool, everyone’s going to that destination."

"Even if driving rates haven’t declined significantly in the past three years, the new data adds to the growing body of evidence that SF isn’t as car-dependent as opponents of reallocating street space to other modes often claim." In fact, Census data suggests that 88 percent of new households added to San Francisco between 2000 and 2012 were car-free.  

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Published on Tuesday, February 3, 2015 in Streetsblog SF
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