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More D.C. Workers Choosing To Live Within City Limits

More D.C. workers have chosen to live in the city over the last decade, leading to a significant uptick in cycling as a commuting option.
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More D.C. workers have chosen to live in the city over the last decade, leading to a significant uptick in cycling as a commuting option.

More and more people who work in D.C. are opting to live in D.C., according to a new study by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board on commuting patterns in the region between 2000 and 2011.

The study reports that of the 46,000 workers D.C. added in that time, 90 percent chose to live in D.C. instead of the surrounding jurisdictions. As a consequence, a large part of the increased commuting flow in the city has been of local workers going to local jobs. According to the study, 41,000 people had D.C. to D.C. commutes, second only to Montgomery County's 42,000.

Over the last decade, D.C. has grown from 572,000 to 632,000 residents. Growth has been strongest since 2010, though, with 30,000 residents having moved into the city since then. City officials credit the inflow of new residents for the vibrant housing market and local economy; since D.C. cannot tax the income of non-residents who work in the city, they have made strides in attracting more workers into the city.

The study also found that the percentage of commuters in the region driving alone and car-pooling dropped over the decade-long period, with solo driving falling from 67.2 percent to 65.8 percent and car-pooling dropping from 13 percent to 9.7 percent. Transit use increased from 11.8 percent to 15.4 percent, while walking and cycling remained flat—except in D.C. and some parts of Virginia.

Of the workers that chose to live in the city, the percentage riding their bikes jumped from 1.4 percent in 2000 to 3.5 percent in 2011, accounting for a full 60 percent of the region-wide increase over that time period. Bike use also increased in Arlington, Alexandria and Montgomery County.

Capital Bikeshare, a bike-sharing service, has also grown more popular, with thousands of daily users in D.C., Arlington and Alexandria, and stations planned for Montgomery County.

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