Contra Costa Air Quality

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In March, Caltrans released the results from its latest California Household Travel Survey (CHTS), which looks at how we in California travel. The primary finding echoes what many suspect– Californians are driving less. The percentage of California residents walking, biking, or using public transportation more than doubled since 2000; the three modes increased in mode-share, collectively, from 11 percent to 23 percent. 

Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty notes of the survey’s findings, “Based on this research, we can make good decisions about transportation that will improve mobility, air quality, and travel choices for all Californians and make our state a better place to live and work.”

The table below from the recent CHTS shows the exact breakdown of travel mode distribution, and how it compares to the 2000 survey:

CHTS_Table Single-occupancy cars remain the most prevalent travel mode. However it now makes up less than half of all trips, having plummeted from 60.2% to 49.3% of trips.

Interestingly, despite frequently hearing about today’s public transit and bicycling booms, the fastest growing travel mode in the Golden State over the last decade was walking, which more than doubled from 8.4% of trips to 16.6% trips. This is not to say that reports of increased levels of public transit use and bicycling are misleading, in fact the two modes doubled their respective mode-share since Caltrans’ 2000 CHTS.

The results from the survey mark a dramatic shift in the state’s travel patterns and show no signs of reversing. Looking at the numbers one can’t help but to wonder– what will the next California Household Travel Survey look like?