Census Figures Show Transit Use Up in Washington Region

Data recently released by the Census Bureau show that more commuters are using public transportation than ten years ago, and that transit use has been growing faster than the workforce. Transit’s share of commuters rose from 14.6% in 2000 to 19.4% in 2011. The growth can be chalked up to all transit operators in the region, and it is an encouraging sign that transit’s role supporting the economy has been increasing. Nearly all jurisdictions in WMATA’s Compact area experienced a growth in public transportation usage.

Public transit's share of commuting has grown in the last decade across nearly all jurisdictions in the WMATA Compact area, the latest Census data show.

Transit’s growth in the region highlights the need for us, our partners, and the public to start talking strategically about Metro’s future. Not only are more people taking transit, but more people are choosing to make the Washington region their workplace and home. How can Metro best accommodate growing ridership?  Join the online conversation at Momentum to express your thoughts on these and other questions. Over the next few months we will post questions, conduct polls, and ask you to prioritize various elements of the plan. Your input matters, and we’re listening.

In the coming months, we’ll be releasing what we learned about our rail ridership through the 2012 Metrorail Ridership Survey.These findings from the Census will help put the survey results in context.

The table below shows the change in number of workers for whom means of transportation work is determined, and their transit mode share, between the 2000 Census and 2011 1-Year American Community Survey.

Number of Workers (for whom mode is known)

Transit Commute Share

2000

2011

2000

2011

District of Columbia

260,884

306,801

33.2%

39.6%

Montgomery County

455,331

516,545

12.6%

15.8%

Prince George’s County

397,403

446,551

11.9%

19.5%

Arlington County

116,046

139,722

23.3%

28.4%

Alexandria City

77,190

89,831

16.4%

18.2%

Fairfax County

527,464

580,430

7.3%

9.9%

Fairfax City*

11,845

12,106

7.6%

9.0%

Falls Church City*

5,853

5,667

15.9%

15.8%

TOTAL – WMATA Compact Jurisdictions

1,852,016

2,097,653

14.6%

19.4%

These numbers describe commuters’ “primary” mode of transportation to work. The American Community Survey figures are estimates based on sampling, and are accompanied by statistical margins of error (not shown here).

* Note: For sampling size reasons, the American Community Survey does not publish 1-year statistics for Falls Church City and Fairfax City. This post shows 5-year 2005-2009 ACS statistics for those two jurisdictions.

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  1. November 26th, 2012 at 10:18 | #1

    It is also interesting to note the rate of change over the period as the region’s transit share rose by 13.3%. And the jurisdictional rate of growth is of interest too as Arlington comes out on top. Arlington has invested in new transit capacity, supporting infrastructure AND outreach and marketing the Car-Free Diet. And it’s paying off:

    DC 17.6
    Arlington 20.4
    Montgomery 13.4
    PG 12.4
    Alexandria 16.4
    Fairfax 10

    Chris Hamilton
    Arlington County Commuter Services

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