San Fran Leads Nation In Reduction Of Solo Car Commuting

The San Francisco Bay Area saw the greatest shift from solo auto commuting to “alternative” forms of transportation in the whole of the country for the years of 2006 through 2013, according to new figures from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.

In 2012, the San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA, metropolitan statistical area even had the third-lowest solo-commuting rate in the whole of the country (69.8%) — behind only Ithaca, NY (68.7%) and the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA area (56.9%).


“Workers in the San Francisco Bay Area made the nation’s most dramatic shift from commuting via automobile to using alternative transportation between 2006 and 2013, according to a new Census Bureau report,” stated Dan Walters while writing for The Sacramento Bee on the Census report release last month.

These numbers compare to a national average (solo commuting) rate of 76.4%. Worth noting here is that the 3.8% decrease revered in the San Francisco Bay Area over the period in question was well above the next closest areas. Those were: the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, area (3.3%) and the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC, area (2.9%).

On the national level, roughly 9.4% of people carpool to work, 5.2% use public transportation, 4.4% work from home, 2.8% walk, and 1.32% make their way to work via other means. Bicycling accounts for 0.6% of the 1.32% figure above.

“In recent years, the percentage of workers who commute by private vehicle remained relatively stable after decades of consistent increase,” study author Brian McKenzie noted. “For several individual years since the mid-2000s, the average number of vehicle miles traveled in the United States has either increased at a slower pace than in previous decades or declined. Although such shifts in travel behavior are slight, they have captured attention because they represent a disruption in an unequivocal, decades-long pattern of increased automobile travel.”

“Overall, automobile commuting has declined since 2000, in part, due to the continuation of a long-standing pattern of a decline in carpooling,” McKenzie stated recently. “One out of 5 US workers carpooled in 1980, but in 2013, only one out of 10 carpooled.”

Worth a note here is that when non-prominent factors are accounted for, the buying power of the average American has been declining for several decades now.


James Ayre

's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.