Los Angeles may be notorious for its traffic, but it turns out the city’s northern California neighbours are even more addicted to their cars.
According to a report in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, 86.8% of the residents of Santa Clara County — which encompasses Silicon Valley — commute by car, compared with 83.1% of Los Angeles County residents. Of those who commute by car, only 11.9% of Santa Clarans drive with a carpool.
The data was compiled from the 2012 American Community Survey, part of the U.S. Census.
There are a number of reasons for congestion in Silicon Valley, and a lack of practical public transportation is a big one. Only 3.3% of commuters in Santa Clara County use public transit, compared to 32.4% of commuters in San Francisco County and 7.1% in L.A.
“There’s not transit between (jobs and housing) and we’ve really made it challenging to use transit,” Leah Toeniskoetter, director of the San Jose office of city-planning organisation SPUR, said to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Work has begun on new BART extension stations in San Jose and Milpitas, and a bus rapid transit system will break ground in San Jose this month.
Still, many of Santa Clara County’s office developments offer free parking for employees, which is a huge incentive to drive. Parking in nearby San Francisco, on the other hand, can be costly and hard to find.
“Free parking is one of those ‘If you build it, they will come,'” Jeff Hobson, deputy director for public-transit advocacy group TransForm, said.