A comprehensive report on household and individual travel behavior and patterns, demographic information, and commute assistance services of those who live in Arlington County, Virginia.
The report uses data from the 2017/2018 MWCOG Regional Travel Survey, which is a detailed travel survey of households in the DC region periodically conducted by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). As an add-on to the 2017/2018 survey, Arlington supported additional surveys across Arlington County in order to get a detailed view of travel patterns around the county.
What’s inside the Arlington Oversample and Special Analysis Report?
In 2017 and 2018, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) conducted the Regional Travel Survey (RTS), on behalf of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB). The RTS is a random-sample internet-based survey of residents across the TPB model region. The survey documented travel behavior over a 24-hour period, such as transportation mode shares and purpose and destination of their trips, for both commute and non-commute trips, and commuter assistance services offered by employers, such as transit benefits and free parking.
The survey also asked residents about individual and household demographic characteristics that may influence travel behavior, such as vehicle and bike ownership and household size.
In order to have a large enough sample size for Arlington County to generalize findings to areas smaller than the entire County, Arlington County provided funding to collect data from additional households for an Arlington Oversample. Additional households were surveyed in selected areas of interest in Arlington County: Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, Columbia Pike, Route 1 Corridor (Pentagon-Crystal City), and Shirlington. The findings in this report used combined data from the initial RTS survey effort and the Arlington Oversample.
Mobility Lab conducted a special analysis to explore the responses and characteristics of survey participants who live in Arlington County, Virginia.
Who was surveyed?
The combined Arlington Oversample survey dataset contains responses from 1,324 households and 2,318 residents, all within the bounds of Arlington County, Virginia. The total sample covers a total of 8,082 trips.
What are some key findings?
- The share of car trips decreased compared to findings from the previous survey period. Drive alone trips account for 35% of all daily trips taken by Arlington residents, followed by drive/ride with others trips which comprise 27% of all daily trips. These levels are lower when compared to findings from the previous survey period wherein 40% of trips were drive alone trips and 30% were drive/ride with others trips. On the other hand, walk trips increased to 22% of all daily trips (compared to 16% in the previous survey period) and bicycle trips increased to 2% (compared to 1% in the previous survey period). The current share of bicycle trips in the mode split is currently at par with bus trips, which comprise 2% of all trips.
- One in five drive alone trips are for trips that are less than a mile. On the other hand, majority of drive/ride with others trips are under two miles (53%).
- Arlington residents make an average of 3.5 trips per day. Comparing by age groups, senior Arlington residents take 3.3 trips per day on average, which is more than children (age 18 years old and below), which is opposite of the findings observed in the previous survey period. In the previous survey, Arlington residents who are 75 years old or older made 2.5 trips per person, the least compared to all other age groups.
- One in ten households in Arlington are completely car-free. Car-free households are defined as households who have licensed drivers and yet do not report having a car. In Arlington, 97.5% of households have at least one license driver, which leaves 2.5% of households that actually have no licensed driver and do not have a vehicle. Hence, getting a better idea of a household’s access to a vehicle involves computing for the number of vehicles per licensed driver per household. In Arlington, 67% have one or more vehicles per driver, while 10% of households have zero vehicles per driver.
- The reported total income of Arlington households skews towards a larger share of households that report higher income. 65% of Arlington households report an income of $100,000 or more. This is higher compared to the findings from the previous survey period, where 47% reported a household income of $100,000 or more.
- In Columbia Pike, the share of larger households (three or more persons) increased to 31%. Findings from the previous survey report that 19% of households in Columbia Pike were comprised of three-persons or more. Single-person households are still a plurality in Columbia Pike, which account for 39% of households.
- Residents in the Rosslyn-Ballston and Route 1 corridors are less likely to have a vehicle for each household member with a drivers license, compared to residents of other parts of Arlington.In the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor, 27% of households did not have a vehicle for each driver in the household and in the Route 1 corridor the share was 20%.
This study, and the results found inside, provide Arlington County data driven insights to meet the needs of residents, as well as illustrate 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.