Compared to other places in the USA, how walkable is Princeton? We compared data on how people get to work, taking data from all across the country, and compared it to data on how people in Princeton get to work. The results tell an interesting story…
First of all, we can note some sad trends in US mobility. Car driving as a share of journeys has increased relentlessly since 1960, such that it now account for more than 4 out of every 5 work trips. But is Princeton any better? Let’s examine the different transport modes individually:
1. Cycling / Other: USA- 3.7%, Princeton- 3.0%
It’s not a good story for cycling in Princeton. We are behind the national average, which includes plenty of places that could not possibly be considered bike-friendly. It’s not obvious why Princeton has such a low share of cycle commuters, but failure to invest in the types of infrastructure that entice people to cycle is no doubt a factor.
2. Works at Home: USA- 4.2%, Princeton- 4.5%
Not much to see here, Princeton is pretty much bang on the national average for people working at home.
3. Walking: USA- 2.7%, Princeton- 9.6%
Hooray! Princeton is well ahead of the national average for people walking to work! However, that isn’t saying very much really, is it? The USA includes a lot of places like Dallas and Atlanta, and a lot of people live in those cities. In a place famed for its small town atmosphere, why is it that fewer than one in ten people here walk to work?
4. Public Transport: USA- 4.9%, Princeton- 4.6%
These data were taken before the University started messing with Dinky service, but Princeton is below average in terms of transit. Even though Princeton residents can ride the FreeB bus for free, transit is not something that is widely used here.
5. Driving a Car: USA- 84.4%, Princeton- 78.6%
Right now, more people in Princeton drive a car to work than use any other form of transport. It’s not even close. For every person walking to work in Princeton, 8 people drive their car. Our rate of car use is 93% of the US average, meaning that we are still very much a car-dependent town. That’s a lot of daily carbon, and a lot of sitting in traffic.
What do you think of the data? What would it take for Princeton become a place where it’s easier for people to get where they need to go without using a car? Where are the major growth opportunities? Have your say in the comments below!