Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on October 7th, 2008 at 7:12 am
The most recent data collected by the U.S. Census’s American Community Survey (ACS) shows that the number of Portlanders who commute to work by bicycle has dropped from 4.4% in 2006 to 4.2% in 2007.
The survey asked, “How did you usually get to work last week?”, and 10,987 people (out of just over 280,000) replied that they used their bicycle (the 4.2% number is arrived at after subtracting the number of respondents that work at home).
This decline would be the first drop in Portland’s bike-to-work mode split as reported by the ACS since at least 1990 (when the number was 1.12%).
(UPDATE 10/8)Portland still ranks #1 among the 50 U.S. cities with the most workers. The ACS says Portland’s 3.9% bike-to-work rate (they leave in the folks that work at home) is just above Minneapolis at 3.8%. San Francisco (2.5%), Seattle (2.3%), and Tucson (1.9%) round out the top five.
It’s important to note that this survey only accounts for bike-to-work trips, which experts say account for only 1 out of 8 total trips. Jessica Roberts, a former BTA staffer and now a planner with Alta Planning in Portland previously told us that it’s widely accepted that these numbers vastly under-represent mode splits.
According to a story in the Eugene Register-Guard:
Six Oregon cities — Eugene, Portland, Bend, Medford, Salem and Hillsboro — made the top 100. Portland ranked 14th on the list, and No. 1 among the 50 American cities with the most workers, according to the survey.
Someone I spoke to at PDOT about these results was surprised by the decline and said, “Every other count we have is up.” At yesterday’s Transportation Safety Summit (hosted by PDOT), Commissioner and mayor-elect Sam Adams briefly mentioned that a preliminary count of bike traffic across the four main downtown bridges is set to pass 17,000 trips this year (up from 14,500 in 2007)
To delve further into the ACS numbers and methodology, check out the official website.
[Note from editor: Due to some shoddy reporting, I have gone back and cleaned up this story a bit after getting input from commenters. Thanks.]