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2008 City commuting trends are in: How does Pittsburgh stack up nationally?

commutepittsburgh

Commuting to Downtown Pittsburgh

How workers get to their job in the 60 most populous cities

For the past three years, we’ve extracted the data from the US Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to create this nifty chart that shows the commuting data of the 60 most populous cities in the United States.  This year, we’ve added a second chart that breaks the bicycle commuters down by gender.

The important thing to remember when reviewing the chart is that the data that we are using comes from workers who live in their city, and how they get to their job, wherever that may be.  It’s also important to realize that in order to even be counted in the commuting survey, you need to have a job to commute to, so cities with higher unemployment rates will have a smaller representation in their lower income bracket.  Also, the survey doesn’t take multi-modal transit users into account very effectively.  If you ride a bike to a subway station, which mode are you using?

Still, despite it’s faults, we feel that this survey provides a snapshot into our city’s commuting trends, and really, it’s the best data out there.

Women as an indicator of a bike-friendly city?

This survey created waves recently with an interesting Scientific American article that analyzes the data based on gender.  Since women tend to be represented significantly less on the roads, they surmise that the ratio of women to men cyclists is an indicator of a city’s bike-friendliness.  According to the article, “in the U.S., men’s cycling trips surpass women’s by at least 2:1. This ratio stands in marked contrast to cycling in European countries, where urban biking is a way of life and draws about as many women as men—sometimes more. In the Netherlands, where 27 percent of all trips are made by bike, 55 percent of all riders are women. In Germany 12 percent of all trips are on bikes, 49 percent of which are made by women.”

The article goes on to say that “in the U.S., most cycling facilities consist of on-street bike lanes, which require riding in vehicle-clogged traffic…[and] when cities do install traffic-protected off-street bike paths, they are almost always along rivers and parks rather than along routes leading ‘to the supermarket, the school, the day care center.'”

Sound familiar? Fortunately for us Pittsburghers, we have three rivers, giving us six river banks that have been (and continue to be) outfitted with bike trails.

Their conclusion: to boost urban bicycling, figure out what women want.

A very interesting and surprising point that arose from this survey is how consistently high Pittsburgh ranks for walking to work, and how low we rank for percentage of workers who drive alone (as in very few, relatively). If that doesn’t call for an increase in the budget to make the “walking” experience better for our residents, I don’t know what does.

Without further ado:

2008 Commuting Trends by City

To toggle between the different modes, click on the tabs at the bottom of the chart

Bicycle Commuting Trends by Gender

You can sort by Overall, male, and female using the tabs at the bottom


If you want to compare the past few years, you can find the data here:


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30 Responses to “2008 City commuting trends are in: How does Pittsburgh stack up nationally?”

  1. dmtroyer says:

    Go walkers!

    Also, who’s the goofball in the pic with the yellow helmet cover? Oh wait…

  2. [...] see the whole report, visit http://bike-pgh.org/2009/09/2008-city-commuting-trends-are-in-how-does-pittsburgh-stack-up-nationall… Posted Sep 30 2009, 03:43 PM by Diana Nelson Jones Online: Contact Us Site Map Terms of [...]

  3. [...] from the network: Bike PGH has a nifty table showing how Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities stack up in the bike commuting [...]

  4. [...] from the network: Bike PGH has a nifty table showing how Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities stack up in the bike commuting [...]

  5. [...] Bike Pittsburgh Blog has posted a handy chart derived from the Census Department’s American Community Survey, listing US cities’ [...]

  6. Paz says:

    Are these numbers city proper or metro?

  7. erok says:

    They are City proper

  8. erok says:

    i don’t imagine too many people walking in the metro area

  9. mbike says:

    Note that because most of these numbers are so small, the deviation is relatively high. For Pittsburg it’s +/- 0.3%. That means Pittsburg’s ranking falls between 11th and 33rd. In other words, we don’t have enough census data to truly develop an accurate ranking, but especially by gender.

  10. erok says:

    of course. statistics always need to be taken with a grain of salt. it still provides a useful snapshot, especially when you look at it over several years.

    oh. btw, and there is an “H” at the end of Pittsburgh

  11. [...] from the network: Bike PGH has a nifty table showing how Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities stack up in the bike commuting [...]

  12. erok says:

    also, falling between 11th and 33rd is much different than falling between 33rd and 50th, or 1st and 11th for that matter.

  13. [...] hold your breath, though. More from the network: Bike PGH has a nifty table showing how Pittsburgh and other U.S. cities stack up in the bike commuting [...]

  14. [...] Benfield at the NRDC does a good job summarizing some analysis done by Bike Pittsburgh of the latest American Community Survey data on mode of transport to work.  Pittsburgh does well [...]

  15. [...] Pittsburgh has done some data mining on the American Community Survey data to develop commuting data separated by mode from the 60 most populus cities.  To display the information, they created a nifty dynamic spreadsheet in Google Docs that allows [...]

  16. mbike says:

    Sorry about the missing H! I would take these numbers with a huge grain of salt unless you’re up there with about 2% or more.

    Also, I expected these numbers to increase with the fuel costs. I’m not real clear on how the Census counts commuters that use bus bike racks.

  17. [...] Pittsburgh has posted some great, sortable data about how commuters get to work in major American cities, drawn from a Census Bureau report. As [...]

  18. [...] Pittsburgh has posted some great, sortable data about how commuters get to work in major American cities, drawn from a Census Bureau report. San [...]

  19. [...] for the folks at The Bike Pittsburgh Blog, for combing through Census data to find out how we all get to work, and then for putting it [...]

  20. [...] = ‘st_louis_life'; Hallelujah for the folks at The Bike Pittsburgh Blog, for combing through Census data to find out how we all get to work, and then for putting it [...]

  21. [...] Bike Pittsburgh, courtesy of Streetsblog, has some great, sortable data of how various cities stack up on the transportation aspects of the recently released American Community Survey data.   Bike PGH provides the context, ranking cities based on their percentages using transit, walking, biking, etc.  Looking at how DC stacks up against the other major cities in the United States gives a great deal of perspective as to how we’re doing as a city. [...]

  22. [...] Bike Pittsburgh has been running the numbers for the 60 largest US cities, and only 20 have even 1 percent of commuters on bicycles. Portland, at 6 percent, has the most. But even in Portland, there are half again as many men as women on wheels. [...]

  23. [...] Mathew Katz Bike Pittsburgh has posted some great, sortable data about how commuters get to work in major American cities, drawn from a Census Bureau report. As [...]

  24. [...] Mathew Katz Bike Pittsburgh has posted some great, sortable data about how commuters get to work in major American cities, drawn from a Census Bureau report. As [...]

  25. [...] Census American Community Survey data is a treasure trove of good stuff. Bike Pittsburgh took a look at the bike to work figures for various cities. They’ve even got an embedded Google spreadsheet with the data for every mode of commuting, [...]

  26. [...] to the American Community Survey (ACS), a project of the US Census, we’re consistently placing in the top 3 in the country, with a stunning 11.1% of resident workers walking to their job in 2008.  Post-Gazette staff writer Diana Nelson [...]

  27. [...] flat, with well-connected street grids — is in many ways perfectly suited for cycling. Even so, the 2008 Census shows that of the 60 largest U.S. cities, New York ranks 32nd in the percentage of commuters who [...]

  28. [...] for 2010, a survey that we’ve been reporting about for the past few years (2006) (2007) (2008) [...]

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