By Micheline Maynard
Back on New Year’s Day (a mere month and three days ago), we asked our Curbing Cars audience to tell us how you planned to get around in 2014. We got a terrific response and now we’re sharing the results with you.
We’re ambulatory. Most of us still use cars, but not as much as we use other types of transportation in the mix of the ways we get places. The number one way Curbing Cars readers get around is on two feet. Almost 80 percent of respondents say they get around most frequently by walking. That was followed by public transportation, used by 69.7 percent; cars, used by 58.1 percent and other modes of transportation, which included running, Zipcars or car sharing programs, and taxis.
Several people told us that they use of a mix of transportation in a single day. “I walk to work every day, bus in bad weather, bike for some errands in spring/summer/fall. use my car mainly for weekend shopping and for getting out of town,” replied one survey participant.
In fact, I’m doing more walking this winter in Phoenix, where I’m a Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism at the Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State. I walk to school every day from my home downtown, and I’ve walked to the farmer’s market, the movies, to drinks and dinner, and to the Phoenix Opera in the month since I’ve been here. Even though I walked frequently in Ann Arbor, I am doing even more daily walking here. (And of course, the weather is much better…)
We’re pleased with our choices. People seem to be pretty satisfied with the mix of the ways they get places. About 60 percent of you said you were happy with your transportation mix. About 24 percent said they’d like to change it, and the rest said they would like to change it, but couldn’t for various reasons. Getting on two wheels. Of the people who say they’re planning to change their transportation mix in 2014, bicycling was the most popular choice. Two-thirds of those who are planning a change are going to bicycle more. About 38 percent said they’d walk more, and about 33 percent said they would take public transportation more often. No one said they expected to drive more. (Participants were allowed to pick more than one type of transportation.)
Less time in the car. In fact, automobile use among our audience is definitely something they plan to cut back. Everyone who plans to change their mix — 100 percent of respondents — said they would cut back on driving.
Why you can’t change. For the people who are unable to change their transportation mix, the number one reason was family considerations. That was followed by people who would like to take public transportation, but think it takes too long, those who have to keep their mix the same for health or economic reasons, and those who would take public transit if it was available.
Make it safer to bike and walk. The number one request that you have of public officials is to create safer conditions for cyclists and pedestrians, an option chosen by 57.5 percent of those who took part in the survey. Another 20 percent would like to see more public transportation, while 12.5 percent asked for more rail and 10 percent for safer roads.
How you use technology. Finally, we asked how you’re using the Web and apps to get around. More than 55 percent of you said that you use map sites such as Google Maps, Mapquest and others. About 25 percent are using public transit apps, while 10 percent use Zipcar. Uber and bike sharing system apps are used by 5 percent apiece.