This week, our colleagues at New Jersey Future presented some of their recent analysis of the American Community Survey showing that more New Jersey commuters are relying on mass transit to get to work in recent years:
- Between 2000 and 2010, the percent of New Jersey commuters who ride transit to work increased from 9.6 percent to 11.2 percent.
- While New Jersey’s total workforce has risen by 4.6 percent in this 10-year period, the number of transit commuters has increased by 20.9 percent.
- Nationally, New Jersey is second only to New York in the percentage of its commuters who ride transit.
- New Jersey was one of only four states where the percent of commuters driving alone did not increase between 2000 and 2010.
Interestingly, while transit use rose, carpooling decreased in every single state. New Jersey’s decrease of 2.1 percentage points was smaller than the national rate, although its carpool rate in 2010 was below the national average at 8.7 percent. Are you interested in carpooling but don’t know where to start? You can contact GMTMA — we can help.
Unfortunately, walking is on the decline. New Jersey Future found that the percentage of people walking to work fell in New Jersey, from 3.2 percent in 2000 to 3.0 percent in 2010. This is similar to the national trend, where walking declined in 37 of the 50 states. Even worse, the absolute number of people walking to work fell by 2.5 percent in New Jersey, while increasing by 1.0 percent nationally.
But biking was a bright spot in the data. Biking to work was up almost everywhere. The absolute number of people biking to work was up almost 50 percent nationally and increased everywhere except New Hampshire, Mississippi, Delaware and Arkansas. Encouragingly, the number of bike commuters increased by 72.5 percent in New Jersey between 2000 and 2010.
New Jersey Future notes that a remarkable thing that came from this data is the strength of the transit network in New Jersey. “Given that jobs within New Jersey have been decentralizing, a phenomenon that tends to work against both carpooling and transit, it is a testament to both the availability and the importance of buses and trains that the share of commuters who drive alone to work has not increased over the last decade. Buses and trains remain the preferred mode for commuters into New York City, which is still a huge employer of New Jersey residents. A renewed focus on the transit network by New Jersey state government, as represented by the Urban Transit Hub tax credit, should also enable more intra-New Jersey commuters to use transit in the future.”
There are certainly many bright spots in this data, although work remains to be done. GMTMA can help! Contact us if you want to learn more about carpooling, vanpooling, walking or biking, Safe Routes to School, transit, and more!