Support Arlington’s Urban Villages — Cars Not Required

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Howard is managing director of Mobility Lab. He specializes in government relations and policy, the nuances of transportation demand management, and the latest research.
February 1, 2007

What makes it so easy to get around without a car? In a word —alternatives! Public Perceptions of Transit studies in 2004 and 2005 found that Metrorail and Metrobus were perceived as “safer” than driving alone.

What We Know:

Arlington County is a community where one can live, work, shop and play . . .  no car required™. This is made possible from an innovative vision advanced by County leaders three decades ago—planned development centered around one of the best public transportation systems in thecountry a.k.a. the urban village concept. Arlington County is made up of eight urban villages, high density areas centered around Metro stations, public transport hubs and shopping. Each urban village is a distinctive community with jobs, housing, and recreation all within a few blocks of each other.

What makes it so easy to get around without a car? In a word—alternatives! Through Arlington County Commuter Services (ACCS) and the County’s Transportation Division, the County’s urban villages are supported by bus service (Metrobus and ART), convenient transit stops, thoughtfully planned pedestrian walkways, bike friendly paths and racks, and even an innovative car sharing program. To ensure these options are appreciated and used, ACCS promotes awareness through outreach programs with area employers (via Arlington Transportation Partners) and County-wide public information and education campaign.

These transportation demand management (TDM) programs make it easier for people to live, work, shop and play without a car. And, for those folks who need a car, these programs help ensure there are fewer cars that need to share the road.

Key Supporting Facts:

  • 2005 Washington Metropolitan Area Ridership survey results confirmed previous findings that the walking distance between a site and the Metrorail station affects transit ridership. In general, the closer a site is to the station, the greater likelihood those traveling to/from or within a site choose Metrorail as their travel mode. (Source: 2005 Development Related Ridership Study)
  • According to a Metrobus study done in1999, 61% used the Metrobus for commuting, 51% for shopping and 48% for recreational trips. A main driver of this is that 94% said they walk less than five blocks to the bus stop! (Source: 1999 Fiscal Year Performance of Arlington Metrobus Study)
  • Pike Riders (a service provided byMetrobus that began in September of 2003 along the Columbia Pike) are even closer to their bus stops, as 72% walked an average of only two blocks to the Pike Ride bus stop. About one-fourth transferred from a Metrorail station.  And 47% said it’s very easy to find information about Pike Ride. Hispanic respondents found the Spanish collateral particularly useful. (Source: 2003 Arlington County “Pike Ride” TransitService Study
  • A 2003 study on Single OccupancyVehicle (SOV) drivers found that awareness of alternatives to driving alone is very high in Arlington County, especiallyMetrobus and Metrorail. Almost all perceived they have good access to public transportation. (Source: 2003 Arlington County SOV Driving TripReduction Study)
  • In a 2004 satisfaction study, 71% of Arlington County residents who had an opinion were satisfied with the availability of bike trails and bike lanes in Arlington. 68% were satisfied with the ease of traveling within Arlington. 65% were satisfied with ART (Arlington Transit bus service). (Source: 2004 Arlington County Citizen Satisfaction“DirectionFinder” Study)
  • Public Perceptions of Transit studies in2004 and 2005 found that Metrorail and Metrobus were perceived as “safer” than driving alone.
  • Respondents in these studies also wereof the opinion that Metrorail and Metrobus are lower in cost and a better value. (Sources: 2004 Arlington County Public Perceptions of Transit Study, 2005 Arlington County Public Perceptions of Transit Study)
  • In a 2006 Satisfaction study, 76% of redents rated ease of getting around in tarea as “good” (a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 5). 83% rated the transportation systeand services as “good.” Almost half rated ease of getting around Arlington without a car (44%), by bus (50%), by walking (49%), by bicycle (49%) as “good” (a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to5).  Those who do not own cars were more likely to find it easier to get around without one. (Source: 2006 Arlington County Residents’ Satisfaction with Transportation Telephone Study)
  • Even teens have been found to get around Arlington without a car. Heavy riders of public transit appeared to go all of Arlington County destinations more regularly than light riders or nonriders. Walking is also a popular option for teens. (Source: 2006 Arlington County Teen Transit Initiative Study)

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