A comprehensive report on the commuting behavior, prevalent attitudes and awareness of transportation services, and commute assistance services, of those who live and work in Arlington County, Virginia.
What’s inside the 2019 State of the Commute?
In 2019, the Commuter Connections program of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) conducted a regional State of the Commute (SOC) Survey, a random-sample telephone survey of employed persons living in the 11-jurisdiction Washington metropolitan region. The survey documented commuting behavior, such as commute mode shares and distance traveled, and prevalent attitudes about specific transportation services, such as public transportation, which are available to commuters in the region. The surveys also asked commuters about sources of information on alternative modes, their reasons for choosing alternative modes for commuting, and their awareness and use of commute assistance services that might influence commuting behavior. Mobility Lab and LDA Consulting collaborated on this study and report, to explore the responses and attitudes of survey participants who live and work in Arlington County, Virginia. This is the fourth installment of this report.
Who was surveyed?
The 2019 SOC survey interviewed a total of 8,246 residents across the 11-jurisdiction MWCOG region. The total sample included interviews with 790 Arlington residents and interviews with 642 respondents who worked in Arlington County.
What are some key findings?
- Commute patterns are shifting. Over the 12-year period between 2007 and 2019, Arlington residents reduced the share of commute trips made by driving alone by a full 11 percentage points and increased their use of public transit, bike/walk, and telework. Several new modes, such as ride-hail and scooters/bikeshare, also were joining traditional modes for commute travel. Arlington workers’ mode split showed similar patterns of long-term change.
- Teleworking as a mode choice for Arlington residents and workers has also seen an increase in use. The shares of both Arlington residents and Arlington workers who teleworked exhibited steady growth between 2007 and 2019. In 2007, 22% of Arlington resident commuters teleworked. By 2013, the percentage had risen to 30%. It grew still further to 41% in 2019. Telework also increased among commuters who worked in Arlington, with growth from 20% in 2007 to 35% in 2019.
- Transit access and use within Arlington was ranked highly, but there’s potential for even more residents and workers to use transit for commuting. Among Arlington respondents who were not riding transit to work at the time of the survey, 31% of Arlington residents and 28% of Arlington workers had used transit for commuting at least occasionally within the past three years. Taking into consideration both their work and personal schedules, about half of non-riders in both the Arlington resident and Arlington worker groups would be able to use transit for commuting, at least occasionally and about two in ten could use transit one or more days per week.
- The availability of worksite commute assistance services among Arlington workers rose between 2016 and 2019. More than seven in ten (73%) Arlington resident commuters and an even higher share, 77%, of respondents who worked in Arlington said their employers offered one or more alternative mode benefits or support services to employees at their worksites. This was compared with only 60% of all regional commuters who said they had access to these services.
- The combination of parking charges and commute benefits/services appeared to be particularly influential. When parking was free and commute services were not offered, 79% of respondents drove alone to work. When parking was not free and commute services were offered, on top of parking charges, the drive alone mode share was just 38%, showing the powerful influence of these two strategies combined in influencing commute mode choice.
- More than half of Arlington residents said they were at least somewhat interested in using a driverless car, but only three in ten were interested in buying a driverless car. When asked how interested they would be in buying a driverless car, renting a driverless car or carshare vehicle, or riding in a driverless taxi/ride-hail vehicle or driverless bus, 53% of Arlington residents rated their interest as a 4 or 5 (very interested) for at least one of the scenarios presented. This was notably higher than for the region overall; only four in ten respondents regionwide expressed any interest in using a driverless car.
To access additional takeaways from the report, download the facts sheets for Arlington Transportation Partners and Active Transportation.
This study, and the results found inside, provide Arlington County data driven insights to meet residents and workers needs and monitor the impact of Transportation Demand Management efforts over time. The study can also be viewed as an example of the impacts that over a decade of TDM planning can have on a local community.