Between 2000 and 2006-2010*, several tri-state counties saw some of the largest mode share increases in public transportation, biking or walking commutes in the nation according to new data from the Census Transportation Planning Package’s (CTPP) 2000-2010: Changes in Transit, Walk and Bike Commute Shares. The CTPP uses data from the Census and American Community Survey (ACS), and presents information unavailable in either the Census or ACS alone, including what percentage of people in each income group travel to work by public transportation, biking and walking.
With a 5.5 percent share change, Hudson County, New Jersey had the third largest increase in public transportation ridership in the nation. Bronx County was fifth nationwide with a 5.0 percent share change, Queens (seventh nationwide) at 4.3 and Brooklyn (ninth nationwide) at 3.7. Tri-state area counties listed in the top 30 public transportation share change nationwide can be found below. The full list can be found here.
Rank (nationwide) Tri-State County Public Transportation Share Change
|3||Hudson County, NJ||5.5|
|5||Bronx County, NY||5.0|
|7||Queens County, NY||4.3|
|9||Kings County, NY (Brooklyn)||3.7|
|10||New York County, NY (Manhattan)||3.2|
|11||Richmond County, NY (Staten Island)||3.1|
|14||Bergen County, NJ||2.3|
|28||Essex County, NJ||1.5|
|30||Middlesex County, NJ||1.4|
Unsurprisingly, many of the tri-state region’s densely populated, urban counties with well-developed transit systems have seen the largest growth in people taking public transit to work. All the boroughs of New York City are ranked highly, as well as Hudson County, whose Hudson-Bergen Light Rail opened in 2000.
While these tables do not link the public transportation share increase with decreases in any other mode of transportation, all but one (Richmond/Staten Island) of the tri-state counties that saw their share of public transportation increase also saw their share of driving alone decrease.
County Drove Alone Share Change
|Hudson County, NJ||-2.0|
|Bronx County, NY||-2.4|
|Queens County, NY||-2.2|
|Kings County, NY (Brooklyn)||-2.6|
|New York County, NY (Manhattan)||-.7 (deemed not significant)|
|Richmond County, NY (Staten Island)||+ .2|
|Bergen County, NJ||-2.2 (deemed not significant)|
|Essex County, NJ||-.3|
|Middlesex County, NJ||-1.3|
Noticeably absent from the top 30 counties switching to public transportation were Westchester County and Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Westchester and Nassau only saw an increase in public transportation by .8 and .5 percent, respectively and Suffolk County saw public transportation use decrease .5 percent. One explanation for these trends could be the lack of transit-oriented development expansion as compared to the other counties on this list. Unlike Hudson County, where 10,000 housing units were built in transit-oriented developments in places like Jersey City and Hoboken, Long Island has not seen as much growth. Previous studies have also shown the transit gap in New York City and its suburbs has hindered job access in the metropolitan area.
Choosing walking and bicycling as transportation options also grew in several counties throughout the region during the study period. Three tri-state counties were in the top 30 counties with the highest walk share increases: Cape May County (NJ) (1.5 percent share increase, 13th nationwide), and Fairfield County (CT) and Westchester County (NY) tied for 27th nationwide with a 1.0 percent share increase. Cape May County also made the top 30 list for largest biking increases, ranking sixth nationwide, with a 1.2 percent share increase in biking. Institutional support among municipalities in Fairfield and Westchester Counties have made creating more walkable and bikeable communities a high priority for local leaders.
*The American Community Survey (ACS) was conducted over the course of a 60-month period between 2006 and 2010, so it does not represent a specific point in time like the census of 2010.