Surveys show that the option of carsharing motivates commuters to use transit more often (40% to 54% agree), helps commuters save money on transportation (62% to 70% agree), and motivates them to walk more often (37% to 54% agree).
What We Know:
Arlington County’s transit success can be attributed to both the services that the county provides and the county’s transportation infrastructure. When options are available, many travelers choose public transit over driving alone.
We’ve learned through a 2006 study of Arlington County residents that 47% travel to work by driving alone, 27% take the train/Metrorail, 12% take the bus, 3% bike, 6% walk, and 5% carpool or vanpool. Since 53% of weekly trips to/from work by Arlington County residents are NOT made in single-occupancy vehicles, the availability of other transportation services is very important to these residents.
That same survey also asked Arlington residents about non-work trips they made the previous day. Over half were made by modes other than driving alone: 45% of those who made a trip drove alone, 33% walked, 14% carpooled or vanpooled, 6% took the train/Metrorail, 5% rode the bus, 2% biked, and 4% took another means of transportation. Alternative transit options provide residents and workers with the opportunity of doing something other than driving alone when they need to travel in Arlington County.
Key Supporting Facts:
- 51% of respondents in a 1999 Fiscal Year Performance of Arlington Metrobus study indicated that they use the bus for shopping trips. 48% use it for recreational trips. These numbers were even higher for first-time riders.
- When “Pike Ride” (a bus service on the Columbia Pike that began in September of 2003) was introduced, a survey was taken of riders. 32% indicated that they ride more often since the improvements in bus service along the Columbia Pike. Only 6% said they ride less often. Those surveyed on the weekend were significantly more likely to say they are riding more often (49% vs. 27% – 28% of those surveyed on a weekday). Additionally, riders surveyed at the Pentagon bus stop were asked what might persuade riders to board the bus or get off the bus at the Pentagon City stop as opposed to the Pentagon (which has a fair amount of congestion). 18% said they would be motivated if it were closer to their work, 14% would be motivated if it did not cost more to go to Pentagon City, and 12% said they do get on the Pentagon City bus if it comes first. (Source: 2003 Arlington County “Pike Ride” Transit Service Study)
- In a 2003 study of Arlington County car owners, it was determined that “saving time” is the key factor influencing commuting decisions. Commuters are interested in the fastest way to get to and from work. A change in job location or home address are the events most likely to initiate a re-evaluation of commuting decisions. It was also found that work trips are more readily replaced with alternative forms of transportation than non-work trips as commuters indicated that almost all of their driving trips could be made using another form of transportation. Respondents estimated that one third of non-work trips could be replaced using alternate forms of transportation. But, car owners are more likely to plan ahead to combine trips than to seek out carpools or investigate other means of transportation. (Source: 2003 Arlington County SOV Driving Trip Reduction Study)
- One study found that Arlington residents are more likely than other commuters in the region to walk to reach Carpool/Vanpool meeting points and bus stops or train stations. (Source: 2004 State of the Commute—Arlington Study)
- In the 2005 Arlington County Public Perceptions of Transit Study, residents tended to be neutral (52%) in their opinions of the private car as mode of transportation. While the vast majority said that a car is available to them whenever they need it, Arlington County residents continue to show concerns about safety, parking and other issues with respect to using the car as a mode of transportation. In addition, cost, which was already a concern for respondents, is being seen now as even more of a problem. 60% agreed that “driving during rush hour is very stressful,” and 54% agreed that “parking is a problem.”
- According to a 2005 study, Virginians are most likely to support programs that reduce the number of vehicles on the roads. When asked about options to reduce congestion, 34% said to encourage telecommuting and 33% said to increase availability of public transportation. (Source: 2005 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Traveler Opinon & Perception (TOP) Study)
- Arlington County sought to help establish carsharing services in the county by providing subsidies that helped reduce the start-up risk and membership recruitment incentives for two companies that provide short period car rental, or carsharing. These risksharing subsidies for Flexcar and Zipcar provided by Arlington County were discontinued in May 2005 once it was agreed that there was a proven demand for these services. These programs are provided to commuters who do not drive alone to their place of work and may need a car for a short period of time to run errands. In the Millard-Ball publication “Car-Sharing: Where and How it Succeeds, TCRP Report 108”, research suggests that carsharing leads to reduced vehicle-miles traveled (VMT). Surveys show that the option of carsharing motivates commuters to use transit more often (40% to 54% agree), helps commuters save money on transportation (62% to 70% agree), and motivates them to walk more often (37% to 54% agree). It is also shown that Arlington Carshare members have reduced vehicle ownership rates, which translates to less demand for residential parking. (Source: 2006 Arlington County Carshare Program Study)