No Wonder Commuting in Boston is Such a Bloodsport
Everyone complains about the traffic in Boston, but that’s not stopping us from getting in the driver’s seat every morning. A few weeks ago, the U.S. Census Bureau released the 2010 American Community Survey — which is kind of an annual mini-census — and I’ve been digging through. Check out the commuting methods for the city of Boston:
Nearly half of the city is driving to work, with the vast majority of those driving by themselves instead of carpooling. A solid third is taking the good ol’ MBTA to work, and a decent chunk (15 percent) are walking. The city’s biking numbers, though, seem a bit low: only 1.4 percent are biking to work, which is down .4 percent from 2009. With Mayor Menino and bike czar Nicole Freedman making huge strides by increasing biking through Hubway and better infrastructure, we’re betting those numbers are actually low — and will be jumping up in the next couple years. (The ACS’ survey method has been criticized for under-counting bicyclists.) Still, among cities with populations over 400,000, Boston has the 8th highest rate of bike commuting, trailing cities like Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.
Commute times, meanwhile, are getting disturbingly high. The average commute in Boston is 28 minutes, but about 20 percent of commuters are spending more than 45 minutes to get from home to work. And really, if we’re spending an hour and a half a day stuck in traffic — just trying to get to work and then back home — no wonder why the commute seems like such a bloodsport.