Census shows Newport County claims highest percent of bike commuters
NEWPORT COUNTY has the highest percentage of commuters who walk and bike to work of all the counties in Rhode Island, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released Monday. Above, a map showing how different counties rank in terms of percent of residents who walk to work.
PROVIDENCE – A new U.S. Census Bureau survey examining the commuting habits of Americans shows that Newport County boasts the highest percentage of commuters who bike or walk to work, followed by Providence County.
In Newport County, 373 people (or nine-tenths of a percent of the area’s working population) ride their bicycles to work, while 5.9 percent of county residents (6,242 people) said they commute by walking. Those figures are higher than in Providence, where 4.1 percent of people walk to work and half a percent of all residents bike-commute.
“Through efforts to increase local transportation options, many U.S. cities have contributed to the increase [in] the number of people who bike to work,” said Brian McKenzie, a Census Bureau sociologist who studies commuting. “This information shapes our understanding of how people get to work, and how this may change across cities in the coming years.”
Statewide, 2,090 Rhode Islanders bike to work, representing less than half a percent of the Ocean State’s total working population of 500,642. The vast majority, 88.6 percent, drive to work daily in a car, truck or van, while 8.5 percent of that group carpool with other people. Less than 3 percent of Rhode Islanders use public transportation to get to work, 3.5 percent walk to work, and 3.5 percent work from home.
Twelve years earlier, in 2000, 90.5 percent of all Rhode Islanders drove to work, while 2.4 percent took public transportation to work, 0.3 percent biked to work, and 3.8 percent walked to work. The percent of people who worked from home was lower in 2000, at 2.2 percent.
The average commute time in Rhode Island is 23 minutes, the Census Bureau said, unchanged from 2000.
In Massachusetts, 80.3 percent of commuters drove to work in 2012, compared with 82.2 percent in 2000. The percentage of commuters who carpooled fell from 9 percent to 8.1 percent, but the percent of bikers increased to 0.7 percent from 0.4 percent, and the percent taking public transportation increased to 9.2 percent from 8.5 percent.
In 2012, 4.7 percent of Bay Staters walked to work, up from 4.3 percent 12 years earlier. The average commute time in Massachusetts increased slightly from 27 minutes to 28 minutes.
For a complete county-by-county breakdown of the U.S. Census Bureau’s commuter survey, visit www.census.gov.