A higher percentage of Chicagoans are walking to work. Photo by Joseph Dennis.
The Census Bureau has started releasing data from the 2011 American Community Survey. This survey is conducted annually and will collect every 5 years the same amount of data the decennial census collects every 10 years. So far, only 1-year estimate data is available. 1-year estimate data for a year should only be compared to any other year’s 1-year estimate data (3-year and 5-year estimates, with larger sample sizes, will be available by the end of the year). The table below shows commuting patterns for Chicago, from the S0801 table: Commuting characteristics by sex.
|1-year estimates, ACS||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011||Notes|
|Workers||1,162,550||1,209,122||1,230,933||1,260,741||1,271,744||1,168,318||1,199,278||Major decline from 2009 to 2010.|
|Walking||5.5||5.4||5.4||5.8||5.9||6.5||6.3||Steady but slow increases.|
|Bicycling||0.7||0.9||1.1||1.0||1.1||1.3||1.4||Steady but slow increases.|
|Transit||25.3||25.4||26.7||26.7||26.5||26.5||27.6||Ups and downs.|
|Car, Drive Alone||53.4||52.6||51.2||50.5||50.8||50.2||49.9||Steady but slow decreases.|
|Carpool (2+ people)||10.7||10.7||10.4||10.3||9.9||9.4||9.0||Steady but slow decreases.|
|Worked at home||2.9||3.6||3.7||4.2||4.2||4.7||4.3||Increases, then maintained.|
I find it interesting that as “driving alone” decreased, the people who stopped driving alone didn’t necessarily switch to carpooling (where they could share the costs of driving), but switched to other modes of transportation.
It should be noted that the American Community Survey and the decennial census questionnaires ask the respondent to choose the longest distance mode they took to work, “typically”, for the week prior. This means that if you bike 1 mile to the train station and then take the train 10 miles to work, you should only select “transit”.