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AASHTO Journal

Californians Taking More Trips by Walking, Biking, Transit, Study Shows

A new survey conducted by the California Department of Transportation and several partners found that the number of people who report using alternative transportation – such as walking, biking, and riding transit – has more than doubled in the last dozen years.

The 2010-2012 California Household Travel Survey, conducted between January and February 2013, found that about 23 percent of household trips were taken by those alternative transportation options, a jump from about 11 percent in 2000. Caltrans noted a major increase in walking trips, which went from 8.4 percent in 2000 to 16.6 percent of trips taken in 2012.

"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," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty in a statement.

The 2012 survey includes results from about 109,000 people from about 42,000 households across 58 counties in California. Those participants recorded in a provided journal where and when they traveled and the way they got to and from those destinations on one pre-assigned random day. For a typical household, about 9.2 trips were taken each day, or 3.6 trips for each individual person each day. Results were recorded in January and February 2012.

The study, which has been conducted about every 10 years since 1991, is jointly funded through a partnership between Caltrans (approximately $4.22 million), Strategic Growth Council (about $2.03 million), Metropolitan Transportation Commission (about $1.52 million), Southern California Association of Governments (approximately $1.42 million), Council of Fresno County Governments ($49,500), Kern Council of Governments ($118,000), Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments ($183,810), San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District ($150,000), Santa Barbara County Association of Governments ($33,000), Tulare County Association of Governments ($49,500), and the California Energy Commission ($250,000).

Caltrans officials said the data collected for this report will help the department predict future travel demands and look for ways to better meet the transportation needs of state citizens.

"Californians are increasingly determined to get places on their own power, and Caltrans is determined to help them do that," Dougherty said. "Active participation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian paths, are an important part of achieving mobility, safety, and sustainability goals for California's transportation system."

The 247-page California Household Travel Survey study is available here.

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