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National Survey: Driving Down in 2009, Sustainable Transport Up

12:55 PM PST on March 1, 2010

nhts0109.jpgNHTS data from 2001 and 2009 shows a major increase in sustainable transportation. Image via Mobilizing the Region.

Between
2001 and 2009, the number of trips that Americans made in cars dropped
by more than four percent, with walking, bicycling and transit use
picking up the slack, according to new data from the U.S. Department of
Transportation.

Last year, 11.9 percent of all trips were on foot or by bike,
while 4.2 percent of trips were on transit. Both figures signify
significant increases.

The National Household Travel Survey, the source of the new stats, is the gold-standard for transportation data. As Mobilizing the Region reported,
while the Census only tracks how people get to work, the NHTS gathers
data on all trips taken. It also distinguishes between, say, driving to
a park-and-ride bus area and walking to the local bus stop.

The
downside to the NHTS is how infrequently the survey is conducted, which
makes it difficult to determine how much the 2009 data reflects a
larger trend, and how much may be due to temporary changes brought on
by fluctuating gas prices and the recession.

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