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D.C. Commuters Keen On Riding And Walking To Work, Census Finds

In D.C., more people use their feet to get to work than most large U.S. cities.
Gary McCabe: https://www.flickr.com/photos/garyisajoke/3454586628
In D.C., more people use their feet to get to work than most large U.S. cities.

When it's time to head to work, residents in the District are more likely to walk or bike than any other large city in the country except for Boston.

Of the 306,336 workers accounted for in the 2008-2012 Census figures released today, 12.1 percent report walking to work — a bump of 0.3 percent from the previous numbers in 2000. The numbers are lower for cyclists at 3.1 percent, but that represents a 1.2 percent jump since 2000. The margin of error is plus or minus 0.5 percent.

This does not necessarily include those who bike or walk to the Metro or bus stop. It only accounts for those who walked or bike to work for "most of the distance."

Trailing Boston and D.C. in the combined number of walkers and cyclists are cities like Pittsburgh, New York and San Francisco. In the 50 largest cities in the country combined, the rate of walking and biking to work increased from 0.6 to 1.0 percent between 2000 and 2008 to 2010.

There are good reasons why the numbers are trending upwards. According to the Census, walkers nationwide had an average commute time of just 11.5 minutes, cyclists were looking at 19.3 minutes and all other nonteleworkers faced an average commute of 25.9 minutes.

According to numbers released last year, the average commute for those in the Washington Metropolitan Area was 34.5 minutes, with some averaging more than 40 minutes in pockets of the Maryland and Virginia suburbs.

For regional planners around the D.C. area, getting residents out of cars and using alternate modes of transportation is a priority. Future growth in the area is being focused around "activity centers," which will enable residents to live closer to the areas where they work, shop and play.

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