2009 Arlington County Resident Study

The Arlington County Residents’ Transportation Study conducted by ACCS is based on 4,344 survey responses, of which 1,263 were responses to the long form. Randomly selected Arlington residents were surveyed over the telephone. The primary purpose of this study was to assess the performance of ACCS programs and to enhance their effectiveness in providing travel assistance/support services. Some key findings of the study are listed below.

Commute Trends in Arlington County

  • Arlington residents live much closer to work (7.5 miles average) than other residents in the region (16.3 miles average).
  • About one-third of Arlington residents work in Arlington County and one-third work in the District of Columbia.
  • Nearly 30% of commute trips by Arlington residents were made by transit (bus and train).
  • Commute Characteristics by Area of Residence in Arlington County
  • From 2006 to 2009, there was an increase in the percent of employed residents who teleworked, while there was a reduction in compressed work schedules (CWS). It is probable that some workers on CWS switched to telework.


Satisfaction with Transportation in Arlington County

  • Three quarters of respondents said they were satisfied with Arlington’s transportation system. Residents living within 1 mile of a Metrorail station, and residents commuting primarily by transit, carpool, vanpool, biking or walking were slightly more satisfied with the transportation system in Arlington County.
  • Transportation seems to play a significant role in the overall quality of life in Arlington.
  • 83% of respondents said it was important that Virginia invest in programs to support carpool, vanpool and bus systems. Support was highest among residents who used these as their primary commute mode. However, 76% of residents who primarily drove alone to work also supported investment in these transportation options.

Non-Work Trips

  • 15% of non-work trips are made by walking, 40% by driving alone, and 37% by riding with others.
  • Employed residents who commute by transit use transit, bike, or walk more for non-work trips than those who drive alone to work. This may reflect a lifestyle choice and/or accessibility of services by these modes.

Bicycle Use

  • Bicycle trips were made for a variety of purposes. 39% of respondents used their bikes to run errands, 23% to get to work, 19% to shop, 16% for exercise/recreation, 16% to access entertainment, and 12% to visit family/friends.
  • Bicycle trips made up a small percentage of total trips and almost 40% of respondents said nothing could be done to encourage them to ride their bicycles more.  However, 18% of respondents said separate bike lanes and 13% said more bike trails would make it easier to ride their bicycles.

Streetcar Use

  • While 64% of Columbia Pike residents said they “Never” use a bus traveling along the corridor, more than half said they would use a streetcar at least once a week.
  • Streetcar frequency of one every 10 minutes seems reasonable. Increasing frequency to one every 5 minutes did not generate additional interest for either the Columbia Pike or Crystal City corridors.

Factors Impacting Choice of Travel Mode

  • Transit use is much higher when employees have access to TDM services, and when employees do not have free parking at work.
  • 64% of Arlington residents started using or increased use of Metrorail, bus, bicycling, or walking after receiving a TDM service from their employer or residential property or a government agency. 28% of those who took an action said they were not likely to have done so without the TDM service that was provided.
  • Residents who recalled hearing transportation informational messages and/or were aware of the Car-Free Diet program were more likely to have been motivated to try/switch to sustainable transportation modes due to the benefits offered by these modes rather than necessity.


  • Mode of Data Collection – Random Digit Dialing Telephone Survey
  • Completed Surveys – 4,344 Respondents Total (Long Survey – 1,263 respondents; Mini Survey – 3,081 respondents)
  • Survey Population – Quota’s Were Established for five sub-areas of the County to ensure adequate sample in each category:
    • Rosslyn-Ballston corridor (Metrorail Orange line) 
    • Jefferson Davis corridor (Metrorail Blue line)
    • Columbia Pike corridor
    • Shirlington
    • Other areas
    • Respondents who were called after their residence area quota was filled were asked Mini Survey questions. The Mini Survey continued until Long Survey quotas were filled.
  • Survey Instrument – Telephone Questionnaire and CATI Interviewing
  • Criteria for Participation – Resident of Arlington County, age 18 and older


Full Presentation (PDF):  2009 AC Resident Transportation PRESENTATION

Insights Presentation (PDF): 2009 AC Resident Transportation and Green INSIGHTS PRESENTATION

Technical Summary (PDF):  Summary – 2009 AC Resident Transportation STUDY

Survey Questionnaire  – Long Form (PDF):  2009 AC Resident Transportation Long Form QUESTIONNAIRE

Survey Questionnaire  – Mini Form (PDF):  2009 AC Resident Transportation Mini Form QUESTIONNAIRE

Data Tables – Long Form (PDF):  2009 AC Resident Transportation Long Form DATA TABLES

Data Tables – Mini Form (PDF):  2009 AC Resident Transportation Mini Form DATA TABLES


Contact the ACCS Research Team for more information.

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