DefinitionThese measures use the number of people within each type of transportation to work per geographic area population estimate to generate the number and percent of people aged 16 and older in a given geographic area who used a specific type of transportation to commute to work.
NumeratorNumber of workers over 16 years that used active transportation[[br]][[br]]
Number of workers over 16 years that used public transportation[[br]][[br]]
Number of workers over 16 years that used car, truck, van[[br]][[br]]
Number of workers over 16 years that worked at home
DenominatorWorkers age 16 years and over in a given geographic area
Data Interpretation IssuesThis dataset only captures commute to work and does not capture the distance or duration of the trip.[[br]][[br]]
Personal preference and economics also influence commute choices, not just community design.[[br]][[br]]
Commuting by taxicab or other means of transport not included in these data can be accessed from the ACS.
While the ACS provides population, demographic and housing unit estimates, the Census Bureau's Population Estimates Program produces and disseminates the official estimates of the population for the nation, states, counties, cities, and towns. Data are based on a sample and are subject to sampling variability.[[br]][[br]]
Man-made geographic boundaries and their names are not static. Substantial changes to county or county equivalent entities that affect these data during a particular decade may be found on the Census website at [https://www.census.gov/geo/reference/county-changes.html]. Data comparisons in these areas should be conducted with these changes in mind.
Why Is This Important?Taking public transportation, carpooling, walking, or bicycling to work can have environmental, economic, and personal health benefits.^1^ Walking, bicycling, and public transportation promote regular physical activity, reduce traffic congestion, and decrease air pollution from cars, which in turn reduce chronic disease rates, obesity rates, and traffic-related fatalities.^2^
Higher rates of walking and bicycling to work are related to a lower percentage of obesity levels in communities. Commuting by car has generally been associated with reduced physical activity, increased body mass index, and increased levels of obesity.^3^ Commuting by bicycle or walking provides an opportunity to achieve recommended amounts of daily physical activity. Public transportation also provides an opportunity for physical activity as users often combine it with walking or bicycling. Supportive infrastructure such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and public transportation make these commute options feasible and safer.^4^
1. Pucher J, Dill J, Handy S. Infrastructure, programs, and policies to increase bicycling: An international review. Preventive Medicine. 2010;50(S):S106-S25.
2. Jilcott, S.B., et al., Commute times, food retail gaps, and body mass index in North Carolina counties. Prev Chronic Dis, 2010. 7(5): p. A107.
3. Christian, T.J., Trade-offs between commuting time and health-related activities. J Urban Health, 2012. 89(5): p. 746-57.
4. Yang, W., et al., Evaluation of personal and built environment attributes to physical activity: a multilevel analysis on multiple population-based data sources. J Obes, 2012. 2012: p. 548910.