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How America Gets to Work [Infographic]


How America Gets to Work [Infographic]According to the millions of people who have taken PayScale’s Salary Survey, the median national commute time is 24 minutes. But how does everybody actually get to work? To answer that question, PayScale just published a new infographic revealing how workers in different US cities get to work day after day.

There is no doubt that the vast majority of people still drive to work every day. Even with rapidly rising fuel prices and increasing emphasis on the need to embrace alternate forms of technology, the truth is, most Americans still depend on cars as their primary mode of transportation. Our data shows that Detroit, aka, Motor City USA, has the most daily drivers, with over 96% of the respondents saying that they drive their own car to work. On the other extreme, New Yorkers barely crack the 50% mark. NYC has the largest percentage of workers who use public transportation– 24% take the subway. If other cities invested in expansive public transportation, maybe we could see similar numbers elsewhere.

May is National Bike to Work Month, so of course we want to highlight the most bike-friendly metro areas in the country. The West Coast rules this group, with Portland, OR; San Francisco, CA, Sacramento, CA and Seattle, WA making up the top four cities for bike commuters. The only East Coast city is Washington, D.C., which comes in at number five with 0.98% of commuters biking to work. That may not sound like a lot, but that’s a 1.8 ratio to the national average. Portland, where 2.78% of workers report biking to work, has a 5.2 ratio to the national average.

Seattle residents are known for being a bit anti-social, but they’ve certainly embraced carpooling. 2.45% of Seattle workers said they regularly carpool to work. Los Angeles is famous for its traffic, but surprisingly, only 91% of respondents said they drive to work solo each day. Chicago’s famous train system evidently provides a great transportation option. That’s where the most workers ride the rails (13%).

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This isn’t a good survey. Good data exists for this from the Census. NYC is actually much less auto-dependent than depicted here:

Of all people who commute to work in New York City, 41% use the subway, 24% drive alone, 12% take the bus, 10% walk to work, 2% travel by commuter rail, 5% carpool, 1% use a taxi, 0.6% ride their bicycle to work, and 0.2% travel by ferry.

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