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In the just-released Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s 2012-2013 Household Travel Survey, 3.8 percent of Philadelphians reported using a bicycle as their primary means of transportation to work—nearly double what a recent American Community Survey released for 2014.

The DVRPC’s survey is based on more than 9,000 households in the nine-county DVRPC Region submitting one-day travel diaries for the survey. Nearly 400 households were given GPS equipment to track their travel. The result is a 300-page report that reveal some interesting trends in bicycling and other modes of transportation – not the least of which being Philadelphia’s bicycle commuting rate.

DVRPC last conducted a regional transportation survey in 2000. Since 2000, household sizes have shrunk but at the same time households with 3 or more cars increased.

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Even more surprising is that the number of zero vehicle households in the City of Philadelphia actually dropped by 2 percent.

The good news here: auto trips per household decreased while bicycling, walking and transit increased in all counties. Here are the bicycle-related findings from the survey:

  • 0.9% of all regional trips are bicycle trips (~225,000)
  • 1.9% of all Philadelphia trips are bicycle trips (~123,000)
  • 27% of the bicycle trips were made by those in households with incomes of less than $35,000
  • 4% of the bicycle trips were made by those in households with incomes of more than $200,000
  • 3.8% of Philadelphia residents reported that the bicycle was the primary mode of transportation to work.

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Here are more takeaways from the survey:

Total Weekday Trips

  • Region – 25 Million
  • Philadelphia – 6.5 Million

Percentage of residents over 16 who do not have a drivers license

  • Region – 16%
  • Philadelphia – 20%

A surprise in the study is the number of suburban households with car share accounts. 

  • Philadelphia 18%
  • Suburbs 11%

If you are interested in the report or wish to analyze the underlying data it is available here.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.

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