The Census Bureau came out this morning with its 2013 one-year data from the American Community Survey (ACS), which gives us the best look we have (though not a complete one) at how Americans’ transportation habits change from year to year.
Here is a quick take on what the data tell us:
It is important to note that there is a lot that the American Community Survey data don’t tell us about how Americans are getting around. Commuting – which is the main focus of the ACS – accounts for only 16 percent of all person-trips and 28 percent of vehicle-miles traveled. The Census Bureau data notoriously undercount bicycle trips and still haven’t caught up to the increasingly multi-modal reality of many Americans.
The overall story from the 2013 data, though, seems to be that Americans are continuing an evolution from car-centered lifestyles to ones that employ a variety of transportation options. But change, while it continues, is occurring slowly in much of the country.
(The League of American Bicyclists is out with a quick but thorough take on changes in bike commuting, which you can find here. )