2001 and 2009, the share 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
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 major
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.
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.