How Many Car-Free Households Are There In Princeton?

Two wheels is enough for lots of people in Princeton! (click to expand)

Two wheels is enough for lots of people in Princeton! (click to expand)

Tomorrow, September 24, is Car-Free Day! Will you be leaving your car behind? Among the estimated 6,400 people who both live and work in Princeton, fewer than one in four use a car for daily commuting. Nonetheless, many more of us are still car-dependent. If Princeton were more walkable, more people might be able to get by without a car. But having no car at all is unimaginable for many local families. But how about getting by with just one car? Does that sound possible? And how many families currently have just one car? We dove into the US Census Bureau’s ‘American Fact Finder’ to investigate how many car-free households there are in Princeton. The results were interesting!

Princeton Township – Cars per Household

  • 0 cars – 11.9%
  • 1 car – 34.7%
  • 2 cars – 39.6%
  • 3+ cars – 13.7%

Princeton Borough – Cars Per Household

  • 0 cars – 17.4%
  • 1 car – 42.6%
  • 2 cars – 30.1%
  • 3+ cars – 9.9%

– These data show that households in the former borough had on average fewer cars than those in the  Township. This might be because Borough homes are more walkable, or because parking there is more difficult.

Consolidated Princeton (combined data) – Cars Per Household

  • 0 cars – 13.7%
  • 1 car – 37.2%
  • 2 cars – 36.6%
  • 3+ cars – 12.5%

Interestingly, more than half of households (50.9%) in Princeton have just one car. This is not so unusual- if you believe this New York Times piece from 2008, many families in the suburbs (that means outside Manhattan to NY Times writers) get by with one car or are car-free. There are few better ways to save money and reduce your household carbon emissions. The cost of car ownership is estimated by the AAA to be $8,100 per year.

In the future, Princeton can boost the proportion of car-free and one-car households by taking prudent steps to enable people to reduce the number of cars they need per household:

  1. Expanding car-share opportunities to make casual rental easier
  2. Adding better bike facilities to make it easier for people to cycle
  3. Boosting transit
  4. Offering discounts and free stuff to people who walk or cycle.

Finally, here are data from neighboring Lawrence Township by way of comparison. Interestingly, people in Lawrence own fewer cars per household than in Princeton:

Lawrence Township, NJ – Cars Per Household

  • 0 cars – 17.4%
  • 1 car – 42.6%
  • 2 cars – 30.1%
  • 3+ cars – 9.9%

Do you live car-free or get by with just one car? How easy is it to do so in Princeton? Are you participating in car-free day tomorrow? How will you get to work instead of taking your car? And why do you think people in Lawrence have fewer cars than Princeton folk? Leave your comments below!

This entry was posted in Affordability, Local, Princeton, Sustainability and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How Many Car-Free Households Are There In Princeton?

  1. Wow says:

    I wonder what is the average size of a ‘household’? Presumably a (single) Princeton grad student constitutes a single-person household. A single adult household owning one car and a two adult household owning 2 cars are no better or worse than each other (for the environment, parking, cost etc.) But single-person households could skew the stats toward apparently lower car ownership. I doubt this accounts for the difference between Princeton and Lawrence, but it could account for the former borough-township division.
    I wish I could ditch my car, but living in a 2 career household currently forces a 2 car lifestyle.

  2. Keith Hecht says:

    Thanks, A very useful information.

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