Census releases commuting to work data for 2011: walking, biking, transit continue to rise


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.

View this table in a High Chart from Derek Eder.

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.
Taxi 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.4 1.5 1.5 1.5 Maintained.
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”.

Grid Shots: Cycling snow commute


“A bicyclist hauling it in Edgewater, in the midst of the snowstorm. On Broadway just north of Granville.” Photo by Joseph Dennis. 

I was home during the snow storm on Friday and I read people’s commute experiences on various social networks. Here are some photos to celebrate the successful and less successful rides on the bicycle. Continue reading Grid Shots: Cycling snow commute

The iPod has been affecting our commutes for 10 years now


Two CTA passengers shared an iPod on the ‘L’. Photo by Erin Nekervis. 

I bought a two-year subscription to the Sunday Chicago Tribune. It’s given me a lot of tips and ideas for blog posts, especially when it comes to Metra and the Chicago Transit Authority. Sitting down and browsing through, page by page, is an easier way to consume all of the news: it’s impossible to find every article the same group published on their website for that day (at least I haven’t found a method).

Anyway, on the cover of the Arts & Entertainment section was a large representation of the famous iPod “click wheel”, the touch sensitive “wheel” (without moving parts on most models) that doubles as four buttons. Ah, the iPod has turned 10! Indeed, the Apple iPod came out in October 2001. I got one for Christmas – it was a big deal as it cost $399, or about $511 today.

The article was about how that little white brick started a revolution in how we acquire and listen to music. Author Greg Kot interviewed 13 people, including musicians, a college student, an MC, and a Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney, to get their take on the iPod’s impact: “wonderful and terrible” Kot summarized.

Continue reading The iPod has been affecting our commutes for 10 years now