NC commuters prefer cars

My latest research brief examines trends in commuting in North Carolina. More and more, North Carolinians prefer cars, and for good reason: we’re blessed with room to spread out.

From the brief:

According to the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), North Carolinians overwhelmingly choose personal vehicles for their commutes: 81.1 percent chose to drive alone in 2017, up from 80.6 percent in 2012. (Carpooling declined from 10.5 percent in 2012 to 8.9 percent in 2017.)

The only other growing option for commuting was to work from home (6.1 percent, up from 4.5 percent).

Other options fell: taking public transit (1.0 percent, down from 1.1 percent), walking (1.7 percent, down from 1.9 percent), and choosing taxis, motorcycles, or biking (1.2 percent, down from 1.3 percent).

BTS didn’t break out the share of commuters who chose to ride bikes in 2013, but in 2017 it was only 0.2 percent. Nationally, it was only 0.5 percent. Especially for commuting, walking and biking depend on population density, closeness of work to home, geography, and not to be forgotten, weather conditions.

Here’s a chart from BTS (click for the full size):

What that shows:

  • Nine out of 10 people going to work in North Carolina take a car.
  • Over 60 percent of the rest work from home.
  • About half of the ones left over walk or bike.
  • Of the remaining 2 percent, half of those take a taxi, motorcycle, or other.
  • That last 1 percent? They’re the ones who take public transportation.

Jon Sanders / Director of Regulatory Studies

Jon Sanders studies regulatory policy, a veritable kudzu of invasive government and unintended consequences. As director of regulatory studies at the John Locke Foundation, Jo...

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