Hartford – A first-of-its-kind report by ConnPIRG Education Fund shows reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in Connecticut’s urbanized areas—including the Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport-Stamford areas —and greater use of public transit and biking.
In Bridgeport and other cities in Connecticut, the data
shows that efforts to makes our cities more multimodal are working.
“Through our BGreen 2020 sustainability initiative to create jobs, save
taxpayers money and fight climate change, Bridgeport is committed to
efforts to increase public transit, biking and walking,” said Mayor Bill
Finch. “The City is moving forward with a complete streets policy, to
make our streets more accessible for all forms of transportation, not
just cars. Additionally, we’re currently working very hard to bring a
second train station to our city, creating more transit-oriented
development and economic growth to the East Side and East End of our
“There is a shift away from driving in our cities here in
Connecticut and across the country,” said Sean Doyle, for the ConnPIRG
Education Fund. “Policy makers need to wake up and realize the driving
boom is over. Based on these national and local trends, we should be
investing in public transit and biking for the future.”
“Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in
America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available
government data. It is the first ever national study to compare
transportation trends for America’s largest cities. Among its findings:
- The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period.
- In the Stamford-Bridgeport urbanized area, there was a
5.5 percent decrease in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) per capita from
2006 to 2011. In New Haven, driving miles per capita decreased by 3.8
percent and in Hartford there was a 2.2 percent decrease.
- The percent of workers commuting by private vehicle in the Bridgeport-Stamford urbanized area fell 2.9 percent between 2000 and the 2007 to 2011 period. New Haven saw a 2.6 percent drop—the 15th and 20th
largest reductions, respectively out of the 100 largest urbanized areas
in the U.S. Hartford came in 37th with a 1.9 percent decrease.
- The number of passenger miles travelled on transit per capita increased 8.6 percent
in Bridgeport-Stamford between 2005 and 2010. In New Haven, transit
passenger miles per person increased by 14.2 percent. Measured in terms
of the number of trips taken on public transit per-capita,
Bridgeport-Stamford witnessed a 6.2 percent increase from 2005 to 2010.
In New Haven, there was a 6.8% increase in number of public transit
trips taken per-capita.
- The proportion of commuters travelling by bicycle grew
in both New Haven and Hartford, as it did in 85 of the most populous 100
urbanized areas between 2000 and 2010. In New Haven the increase was 0.3 percent, one of the ten steepest in the nation, ranking 10th. Bridgeport saw neither an increase nor decrease.
- The proportion of households without a car increased in
the Hartford, New Haven, and Bridgeport-Stamford urbanized area between
2006 and 2011. This proportion fell in 84 of the largest 100 urbanized
areas. Likewise, the proportion of households with two or more vehicles
fell in 86 out the 100 most populous urbanized areas during this period,
including all three cities in CT.
- The proportion of residents working out of their home
increased in all 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between
2000 and 2010.
The study found that cities with the largest decreases in driving were not
those hit hardest by the recession. On the contrary, the economies of
urbanized areas with the largest declines in driving appear to have been
less affected by the recession according to unemployment, income and poverty indicators.
In Connecticut, the Bridgeport-Stamford, New Haven, and
Hartford urbanized areas all saw decreases in driving and increases in
transit and biking. The one exception was in per-capita transit miles
traveled in Hartford where there was a slight decrease.
“It’s time for politicians in Hartford to support
transportation initiatives that reflects these travel trends around the
state,” said Doyle. “Instead of wasting taxpayer dollars continuing to
enlarge our grandfather’s Interstate Highway System, we should be
investing in the kinds of transportation options that the public
Across the nation, young people have shown the steepest
reductions in driving. Americans 16 to 34 years of age reduced their
average driving miles by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009.
Download the report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities” here.
To read an earlier ConnPIRG Education Fund report on the
implications of the national decline in driving, download, “A New
Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications
for America’s Future” download here.