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Percentage of Region’s Commuters Driving Alone Declines, While Share for Telework, Transit Grows

Washington, D.C. – More people in the metropolitan Washington region are taking transit to work or teleworking than at any point in the past ten years, according to findings presented today by Commuter Connections at the July meeting of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB).


According to the 2010 “State of the Commute” survey, since 2001 the number of workers in the region driving alone to work has declined from 70 percent to 64 percent, while the share for transit and those who telework at least one day a week has risen to 21 percent (from 17 percent) and six percent (from three percent) respectively.


Approximately 600,000 workers – 25 percent of the region’s workforce – telework occasionally (at an average of 1.3 days per week). According to Nicholas Ramfos, Director of Commuter Connections, the rise in telework is largely due to increased employer support for telework programs.


“Employers in the region have enthusiastically embraced telework over the past ten years,” Ramfos said. “They have seen the many economic, environmental, quality of life, and productivity gains that telework provides their organizations, employees, and the region as a whole.”


According to the survey, there is a significant possibility for further growth in telework in the region. In addition to the 600,000 current teleworkers, 500,000 respondents said they “could and would” telework if given the opportunity by their employer.


In addition to the regional data, commuting behavior was broken down at the sub-regional level, which showed significant divergence in commuting choices between the region’s inner and outer jurisdictions.  The three sub-regional categories include: inner core (Alexandria, Arlington County, and Washington, D.C.), middle ring (Fairfax, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties), and outer ring (Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William Counties).


The percentage of drive alone commuters was highest in outer ring jurisdictions (76 percent) and the lowest in the inner core (46 percent). In contrast, transit usage was much higher in the region’s core (34 percent) than in outer jurisdictions (7 percent).


Biking and walking as a mode of commuting was almost exclusively seen in the inner core (9 percent), whereas carpooling/vanpooling and telework saw less deviation at the sub-regional level. 


The survey data was collected via telephone survey of 6,629 randomly-selected employed residents of the metropolitan Washington region. Data collection was conducted by CIC Research, Inc., while the preliminary data analysis was conducted by LDA Consulting.


A full report will be released in 2011. To view/download a presentation of the data from the 2010 State of the Commute Survey, click here.



The TPB is the regional transportation planning organization for the Washington region. It includes local governments, state transportation agencies, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), and members of the Maryland and Virginia General Assemblies.


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Release Date: Jul 21, 2010
Contact: Lewis Miller
Phone: 202-962-3209

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