Who walks to transit and how much?

MLewyn's picture

At CNU, I picked up a short article written by Lilah Besser and Andrew Dannenberg of the Center for Disease Control on walking to public transit. 

The article first compared persons who walked to public transit with the adult population as a whole (based on the 2001 National Household Travel Survey).  Transit walkers were more likely to be poor; 23% of walkers come from a household earning under $15,000, as opposed to 9% of the whole sample.  They were also younger; 34% were under 30, as opposed to 22% of the sample. Only 38% were white, as opposed to 73% of the sample.   They were more female; 55% were female as opposed to 51% of the sample.  Density really mattered; only 17% of transit walkers lived in census block groups with under 4000 people per square mile, as opposed to 63% of the entire adult sample.   Thus, transit walkers were younger, poorer, and more urban than the rest of America. So far no surprises (as far as I was concerned). 

But within the universe of transit walkers a different pattern emerged.  The porrest transit walkers walked longer distances; the mean walk time of transit walkers earning under $15,000 was 29 minutes, while the mean walk time of walkers from households earning over $70,000 was 20 minutes.  Breakdowns by age and education showed similar patterns.    "Choice" riders (that is, those who were the primary driver in their household) who were also transit walkers walked an average of 20 minutes, while transit walkers from carless households walked an average of 28 minutes.

In other words, within the universe of transit walkers, people who could afford to drive are more likely to live near transit stops than those who cannot. This data supports the view that there is significant market demand for housing close to transit.


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