What does this measure?
The type of transportation used on a daily basis by workers over the age of 16 who commute to work, expressed as a percentage of all workers who do not work at home.
Why is this important?
Patterns of transportation usage impact environmental and transportation planning. These patterns may also reflect issues of poverty, location of employment, the availability and quality of public transit, local land use and environmental policies, or lifestyle choices of residents.
How is our county doing?
The majority of commuters in Essex County drove alone to work in 2017-21 (80%), followed by 9% who carpooled, 5% who used public transportation and 6% who biked, walked, or used other means. This was similar to the nation. Compared to Essex, Massachusetts had a somewhat lower rate of driving to work alone (75%) and a higher share of people who used public transportation (9%).
From 2000 to 2017-21, Essex County had a slight increase in its shares of commuters who biked, walked or used other means (2 percentage points) and a slight decrease in those who drove alone and those that carpooled (1 percentage point each).
How do we compare to similar counties?
There were notably lower rates of driving alone in Westchester, NY (62%) and Middlesex, MA (72%) and substantially higher rates of public transportation use in both counties (23% and 12%, respectively). This likely reflects the availability of more robust public transportation in these counties. Compared to Essex, Lake, IL had a slightly higher rate of driving alone (82%) and slightly lower rates of using public transit or walking, biking and other means (both at 4%).
Notes about the data
The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). Data for this indicator is expected to be released annually in December.