Renter Commute Trends: Growth in Walking, Cycling Outpace Driving
Autonomous vehicle (AV) and ride-share technology have the potential to fundamentally alter the relationship between work and housing locations. But what does today’s commute look like for apartment renters?
Commute Choice of Workers
In recent years, cities have witnessed the rapid adoption of new technologies such as ride-sharing and on-demand taxi services. Such changes — in combination with a renewed focus on transit expansion — have the potential to transform the residential location options for workers.
However, as shown below, an overwhelming 77% share of all workers living in small apartment buildings in 2015 still drove to work. In large buildings — which tend to be more centrally located — this figure was 62%.
On the flip side, around 21% of large building residents took public transportation to work, double the share of workers living in small buildings. In large buildings, another 9% walked to work, compared to only 6% in small buildings.
Biking to work is still in its infancy in American cities, with only a 1% share of workers in small and large buildings taking to the saddle.
Included under the “All Other” category (6%) are taxicabs (conventional and ride-sharing) and working from home, which has gained attention in the post-crisis period with the expansion of the gig or the sharing economy.
Car Owners Shifting Away from Driving to Work?
While driving is still the predominant mode of commute overall, examining just car-owners, the data also indicates a faster shift to other commute modes among small building residents.
As shown below, the share of car-owners driving to work grew at an annual rate of 3.6% in small buildings, compared to 4.2% among large building residents.
Public transportation use grew at 4.8% among small building car-owners, which was faster compared to large building residents.
Although starting at a very small share, biking grew at an even faster pace among small building car-owners at 5.5%, compared to 6.7% in large buildings.
“All Other” (taxicabs, ride-sharing and working from home) grew the fastest at 7.2% for small building car-owners and 9.2% for large buildings. This will be more closely examined in future blogs.
For apartment investors and property operators, the unfolding effects of new technologies, including the expansion of ride-sharing and self-driving cars, will have far-reaching implications on where people choose to live and work. Watch this space for more insights on this issue.