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The Voice of the Black Community

Life and Religion

Study: Charlotteans driving less
Uptick in number of people using public transit
 
Published Wednesday, December 11, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

Folks around the Queen City are driving less and using transit and other modes of transportation more often, according to a national study by the NCPIRG Education Fund comparing transportation trends for the country’s largest cities.

The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” shows reduced rates of car commuting in North Carolina’s urbanized areas – including Charlotte and Raleigh – and greater use of public transit and biking.

Charlotte saw the ninth largest reduction among the 100 largest urbanized areas.

 “There is a shift away from driving in our cities here in North Carolina and across the country,” said Kalila Zunes-Wolfe, program associate with NCPIRG Education Fund.

The study, reportedly the first of its kind, used government data to compare transportation trends for the nation’s largest cities. It found that the proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle – either alone or in a carpool – declined in 99 out 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period.

Charlotte was among the top ten, with a 3.4 percent reduction in the number of workers commuting by private vehicle between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period.

Charlotte also logged a per capita increase of 28.5 percent in the number of passenger miles traveled on transit between 2005 and 2010.

In Raleigh, transit passenger miles per person increased by 43.3 percent, 10th largest among the 100 largest urban areas in the category.

According to the study, younger Americans have shown the steepest reductions in driving, with those between the ages of 16 and 34 reducing their average driving miles by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.

The study found that cities with the largest decreases in driving were not those hit hardest by the recession. On the contrary, economies of urbanized areas with the largest declines in driving appeared to have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment, income and poverty indicators.

Researchers also noted a small increase in the number of homes without cars in the Charlotte area and growing number of residents working from home, which could have an impact on the proportion of residents commuting. 

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