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More workers taking longer, solo commutes

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  • Ronald Dawson
    From http://www.cincypost.com/2001/aug/06/2cens080601.html Dawson More workers taking longer, solo commutes Scripps Howard News Service The time it takes to
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 9, 2001
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      From http://www.cincypost.com/2001/aug/06/2cens080601.html Dawson

      More workers taking longer, solo commutes
      Scripps Howard News Service

      The time it takes to get to work is getting longer and more people are
      driving alone instead of carpooling, according to new data released by the
      U.S. Census Bureau.

      The average commute to work increased by nearly two minutes during the past
      decade, from 22 minutes in 1990 to 24 minutes in 2000, according to a survey
      of 700,000 households conducted by the census bureau last year.

      Most people are reluctant to commute more than 20 minutes to work, said
      Michelle Garland of the Surface Transportation Policy Project. When their
      commutes get longer than that, workers tend to try to find jobs closer to
      home, or homes closer to their jobs.

      Driving was the overwhelming favorite means to get to work - 87 percent of
      workers use a car, truck or van, up 1 percent from 1990. There were 2
      million more commuters on the road trying to get to work in 2000 than a
      decade earlier.

      Carpooling declined 2 percent, from 13 percent in 1990 to 11 percent in
      2000. Meanwhile, commuters driving alone increased 3 percent, from 73
      percent in 1990 to 76 percent in 2000.

      One reason for the decline in carpooling may be that husbands and wives
      travel in different directions to work, said AAA spokesman Mantill Williams.

      Urban sprawl may be another factor. ''The more you spread things out, the
      harder it is to coordinate with other people where you are going,'' said
      Elizabeth Humphrey of Smart Growth America. ''Families are traveling 40
      minutes in opposite directions across a region to make a living.''

      Nationally, 64 percent of commuters make it to work in an average of 30
      minutes or less; 18 percent take 10 to 44 minutes, 7 percent take 45 minutes
      or longer.

      The states with the highest rates of commuters who travel less than 30
      minutes to work were primarily in the Great Plains, led by Nebraska with 83

      Americans' use of public transportation has remained roughly the same over
      the last 10 years - 6.5 million people used public transit as their primary
      means of getting to work in 2000, compared to 6 million workers in 1990.

      Buses and trolleys were the favorite mode of public transit, followed by
      subways and elevated rails and railroads, .5 percent. Only .4 percent chose
      bicycles, while 2.7 percent walked to work, down from 3.9 percent who walked
      in 1990.

      However, the walking decline may not be as steep as indicated because the
      survey did not include college dormitories and military barracks - groups
      that tend to have high rates of workers who walk to their jobs, said Phillip
      Salopeck, demographer with the census bureau.

      Despite the emphasis in the 1990s on giving workers flexibility to work from
      home, only 3.2 percent of Americans worked at home, up a mere .2 percent.

      However, the survey may underestimate the number of Americans who work at
      home by counting people who work at home one or two days a week and commute
      the rest the week as commuters only, Salopeck said.

      States with the highest percentage of carpoolers were concentrated primarily
      in the West and South, while states with the fewest carpoolers tended to be
      in the Northeast. New York had the lowest percentage of both carpoolers and
      drivers who drove alone, but it also had the highest rate of public transit
      users - 27 percent.

      Alabama had the highest rate of workers who used cars, trucks or vans to get
      to work, 96 percent, and the highest rate of commuters who drove alone, 85

      States with the greatest percentage of workers who took a car, truck or van
      to work were in the South. States with the lowest rates of workers taking
      cars, trucks or vans to work and the highest rates of public transit use
      tended to be in the Northeast.

      Publication date: 08-06-01
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