2007 State of the Commute – Arlington Study

This study analyzed data collected in two commuter surveys: one undertaken by the Commuter Connections program of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) for the metropolitan Washington, D.C. region, including five Northern Virginia jurisdictions; and the other by the Department of Rail and Public Transportation of the Commonwealth of Virginia for the rest of Virginia. Commuter Connections also conducted this survey for the metropolitan Washington region in 2001 and in 2004. This report analyzes Arlington-related information collected through the MWCOG 2007 State of the Commute Study, specifically: profiling 2007 commute patterns for Arlington; assessing awareness of local Transportation Demand Management (TDM) services; assessing support for non-drive alone mode use and overall support for TDM activities; and highlighting Arlington’s mode and TDM performance in relation to other Virginia regions and other areas of the Washington metropolitan region; This report offers broad-based strategic recommendations on what will encourage Arlington residents and employees to reduce commuting by single-occupant vehicle (SOV).


  • PRIMARY MODE OF COMMUTE – Arlington County Residents have the lowest resident drive alone commute rate of all Virginia regions studied; 54% of Arlington residents primarily drove alone to work.  A slightly higher share (57%) of commuters who work in Arlington primarily drove alone.  Commuters who work in Arlington were more likely to carpool and less likely to ride the train than were Arlington residents.
  • COMMUTE DISTANCE AND TIME – Arlington residents travel an average one-way commute distance of 9 miles and an average commute time of 28 minutes.  Arlington Residents have the lowest regional average commute length of all Virginia regions, but a commute travel time that is about the Virginia statewide average.  However, when calculating minutes per mile (congestion), Arlington Residents have the slowest commute in the reason reflecting their high use of transit for commuting.
  • BUS AVAILABILITY AND USE – 92% of Arlington residents reported having bus or train service available in their home area, the second highest percentage of all Virginia regions and the share of Arlington commuters who live less than a mile from a bus stop is the highest among the Virginia regions surveyed.  Arlington Resident Commuters have the second highest bus use, but still only 7% of them ride the bus at least once a week.
  • TRAIN/METRORAIL AVAILABILITY AND USE – 89% of Arlington Residents live within a mile of a train station – the highest percentage of residents in Virginia.  Arlington Resident Commuters’ use of train for commuting is highest in Virginia and nearly as high as for residents of Washington, DC.
  • REGIONAL COMMUTER SERVICES – ACCS is in the middle in terms of awareness level among local commuter organizations.  38% had aided awareness, but Arlington has the highest level of resident commuters who contacted or used the commuter organization or Web site at 21%.
  • COMMUTE SATISFACTION – 73% of Arlington Resident Commuters said they were satisfied with their commute.  This is one of the higher percentages in the state.  Only 44% of commuters who work in Arlington said they were satisfied with their commute.  Almost twice as many Arlington Resident Commuters said their commute has become more difficult in the past year as said their commute has gotten easier.  The majority of those who said “more difficult” blamed it on congestion.
  • ALTERNATIVE MODE USE AND ATTITUDES – 11% to 34% of alternative mode uses who live in Arlington started using these modes within the past 12 months.  Time and dependability are most important factors to Arlington Residents when choosing a commute mode.
  • INTERNET RIDEMATCHING – 17% of Arlington Residents and 13% of Commuters who work in Arlington said they would use Internet ridematching.  More interest is shown if incentives to carpool are offered.
  • EMPLOYER SERVICES – 68% of commuters who work in Arlington said their employer offers one or more TDM services, the highest share of all Virginia regions.  The most popular service is a transit or vanpool subsidy.  A third of commuters working in Arlington County reported using employer-provided benefits – the most popular again being a transit or vanpool subsidy.  Those who have employer-provided benefits are more likely to commute using alternative modes than are commuters who don’t have access to these services.  Conversely, drive alone rates were higher for commuters who have free parking than for those who must pay to park.
  • TELEWORK – 22% of Arlington residents and 20% of commuters who work in Arlington telework at least occasionally and 12% of residents and 10% of those who work in Arlington indicated they teleworked at least one day during the survey week.  A small share (4%) of commuters who work in Arlington telework most of their work days.  50% of Residents and 46% of Arlington Workers say they have a telework program available at work and 22% of Residents and 20% of Arlington Workers telework at least occasionally.  An additional 38% of Arlington Resident Commuters “could and would” telework if offered the opportunity.
  • SUPPORT FOR RIDESHARE – Both Arlington Resident Ridesharers and those driving alone said it is important to invest in transit and TDM.  Saving money and avoiding stress/traffic are listed as personal benefits of Ridesharing, but fewer Arlington Residents (vs. Statewide) listed saving money/gas as a benefit.


  • Mode of Data Collection:  Random Digit Dialing Telephone Survey
  • Completed Surveys: MW COG SOC – 6.610 Respondents total region-wide including 600 residents of Arlington County and a total of 3,005 in five Virginia jurisdictions; DRPT VASOC – 4,040 respondents in Virginia areas, outside Northern Virginia; Note, MWCOG data for the 3,005 respondents in Northern Virginia were combined with the VASOC data for a total of 7,045 employed resident respondents in Virginia.  Additionally, DRPT conducted callback interviews with 480 Northern Virginia respondents to ask additional questions that were in the DRPT VASOC survey but not in the MWCOG SOC survey.
  • Survey Population:  All employed residents 16 years or older living in one of the 11 jurisdictions that comprise the MWCOG region, regardless of work location or in one of the 16 designated Virginia areas; Quotas were established for the MWCOG SOC to collect completed interviews with 600 residents in each of the 11 COG jurisdictions, including Arlington County.  Residents were asked in which jurisdiction they worked; Quotas were also established in the VASOC survey for other Virginia regions, ranging from 175 to over 600 completed surveys.
  • Survey Instrument:  Telephone Questionnaire and CATI Interviewing
  • Criteria for Participation – Resident of above stated regions; age 18 or older; employed full-time or part-time.


Full Presentation (PDF):  2007 State of the Commute – Arlington PRESENTATION

Technical Summary (PDF):  Summary – 2007 State of the Commute

Survey Questionnaire (PDF):  2007 State of the Commute – Arlington QUESTIONNAIRE

Survey Questionnaire Callback (PDF):  2007 State of the Commute – Arlington QUESTIONNAIRE CALLBACK

Data Tables (PDF):  2007 State of the Commute – Arlington DATA TABLES


Contact the ACCS Research Team for more information.


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