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Americans' commuting habits haven't changed at all in the last 10 years

When it comes to getting to work, the car still reigns supreme.

Data collected by the US Census Bureau shows that Americans still prefer to take a car to work over public transit, bike, or a smaller personal vehicle like a motorcycle. The numbers have barely changed in the last 10 years:

Between 2006 and 2016, there was a 1.4% decline in the number of people taking a personal car to work. However, that actually means there were more people taking a personal car to work in 2016 because the workforce has grown by 9 million people in the last decade.

Of the 150 million workers surveyed, 125 million drove an automobile to work in 2016 — an increase of 8.5 million people compared to 2006. That number accounts for people who carpool to work, so we can’t assess whether the number of single-occupancy vehicles has meaningfully changed.

The only segment that increased by share and the total number was a number of people opting to work from home. In 2016, 7.6 million people worked from home, a 1.1% increase from 2006.

The news doesn’t bode well for cities that are grappling with rising congestion rates. If municipalities want to meaningfully reduce the amount of traffic on the road, they will have to look toward solutions that encourage commuters to ditch their cars, like congestion pricing and increasing public transit access.

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