Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Census: More Philadelphians biking to work, fewer walking

A cyclist, left, rides in a bicycle lane in Philadelphia. New figures from the Census Bureau say the percent of commuters biking to work in the city is rising. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
A cyclist, left, rides in a bicycle lane in Philadelphia. New figures from the Census Bureau say the percent of commuters biking to work in the city is rising. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

More Philadelphians are biking to their jobs, but the share of workers making their commutes on foot is dropping.

A Census Bureau report released today found that 2 percent of city workers rode bicycles to work for 2008 to 2012, more than double the 0.9 percent who biked in 2000.

The bureau said it used 2008-2012 American Community Survey data, rather than figures from a single year, due to the five-year dataset's large sample size.

The percent people walking to work, however, dropped from 9.1 percent in 2000 to 8.6 percent for 2008 to 2012.

The Census says bicycling is the fastest-growing method of commuting.

Among large cities, Philadelphia had relatively high walking and biking rates for 2008 to 2012, ranking ninth for walking commutes and 14th for cycling.

Boston had the highest percent of walking commuters, at 15.1 percent, while Portland's 6.1 percent bicycling rate was the highest in the country.

State College was one of a number of college towns with high walking-commute rates. Its 36.2 percent of commuters walking to their jobs was the third-highest share in the country for small cities. 

Atlantic City also had a high share of walking commuters, at 17.8 percent of workers.

The percent of people biking to work in Philadelphia could be poised to rise further next year: The city plans to launch a bike-sharing system next spring.

The Census said the Northeast had the highest rates of people walking to work and the West had the highest cycling rates.

The percent of biking commuters nationwide has been relatively small over the past three decades: In 1980, 0.5 percent of commuters biked, while 0.4 percent did so in 2000. That rose to 0.6 percent for 2008 to 2012.

The share of workers walking to their jobs has been falling, dropping from 5.6 percent in 1980 to 2.9 percent in 2000 and 2.8 percent for 2008 to 2012, according to Census figures.

In 2008 to 2012, the vast majority of commuters -- 86.2 percent -- drove, while 5 percent took public transportation.

Younger workers were most likely to walk, while men were more than twice as likely as women to bike.

Contact Emily Babay at 215-854-2153 or Follow @emilybabay on Twitter.

Contact the Breaking News Desk at 215-854-2443 or Follow @phillynews on Twitter.
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