It’s Not All Cars in California

5073582110_2d1c984731_oThe 2010-2012 California Household Travel Survey was released last month, and for those of us interested in how Californians are moving, there were some pleasantly surprising findings.

  • Trips by automobile fell from 60.2 percent of total trips in 2000 to 49.3 percent in 2010-2012.
  • Transit trips doubled from 2.2 percent to 4.4 percent.
  • Walk trips nearly doubled from 8.4 percent to 16.6 percent.
  • Bike trips nearly doubled as well from .8 percent to 1.5 percent.

In total, 22.5 percent of all trips made in California are by non-car modes, up from 11.4 percent in 2000.

Data were collected through a variety of methods, including telephone interview, mail, online, wearable and in-vehicle GPS, and On-Board Diagnostic Sensors. 42,500 households across the state participated.

One of the implications of this survey is that walking and biking should receive more funding at the state level. Active Transportation is currently a minuscule .65 percent of the state’s transportation budget ($138 million of $21.1 billion).

While bike/pedestrian mode share has increased in the past ten years without more state-level funding, additional funding for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure could have a remarkably positive catalytic effect.

FHWA data from 2009 show that 56.6 percent of trips shorter than two miles are made by car. This is an easily walkable or bikeable distance. Reasons given for driving instead of walking or biking include lack of infrastructure.

We can provide more of that infrastructure with more state funding, reducing the percentage of short trips made by car, and helping California be healthier and achieve its GHG reduction goals. Bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure costs significantly less than transit or car infrastructure, so a small increase in state funding could pay large dividends.

With the right investments, the 2020 California Household Travel Survey could show another significant non-car travel mode increase.

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