Measuring Americans’ transit use

Last week the United States Census Bureau released this colorful infographic on Americans’ use of transit, walking, and biking, using data from the 2013 American Community Survey.

Transportation Alternatives by Census Region, 30 April 2015

The findings aren’t necessarily all that surprising: the Northeast leads the nation in transit use and spending. The West, however, leads in bikeability and walkability. Unsurprisingly, the South lags behind the rest of the country on most measures, even though it has by far the greatest number of households, with a few interesting exceptions:

  • A higher percentage of Southern households use local public buses than their “Yankee” compatriots: 69% in the South versus 67% in the Northeast.
  • 32% of of Southern households use local rail transit—heavy rail, light rail, and streetcars, but not commuter/intercity rail—which is behind the Northeast and the West but ahead of the Midwest, where only 25% of households do.
  • And the South leads the nation in the number of households who use commuter or shuttle vans: 8%, more than the 7% of households who do so in the Northeast or the 6% who do in both the Midwest and the West.
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