Data Download: Most Ada & Canyon workers drive alone to work


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Welcome to Data Download: an occasional series on growth in the Treasure Valley, and the numbers behind the trends. This is the first in a series.

The overwhelming majority of Ada and Canyon County residents drive to work in a car, truck or van by themselves – and the numbers are little changed over recent years. That’s according to newly updated data from the American Community Survey by the US Census Bureau.

Source: American Community Survey 

In Ada County, 81% of all workers over the age of 16 drive alone to work.  In Canyon County, 78% of folks drive alone. Both counties are higher than the national average of 76.4%

Boise has been touted as a strong place for cycling, but the ACS data shows only about 1.7 percent of Ada Co. workers ride their bike to work. That percentage is actually down from 2009, the earliest year available, when 2.1% used pedal power to commute.

Source: American Community Survey

Those numbers are strong compared to Canyon County, where less than 1% bike to work.

In 2C, carpooling is a relatively popular option – with 11.5% of workers grabbing a ride with someone else. That beats the national average of 9.3%. Ada County sees a much lower number of 7.6%.

Public transportation use is nearly non-existent across both counties according to ACS.  Less than half a percent of workers used public transit in Ada County, and just .25% did so in Canyon – numbers that have fallen off since 2009. Nationally about 5% use public transit.

The data shows the cart-and-horse problem the metro area faces for alternative modes of transportation. With more and more people moving in, the demand for traditional car travel lanes increases. That nagging feeling you have that traffic is getting worse? It’s backed by the data.

Between the two counties, the Census said 278,352 people travelled to work in 2017, up from 243,782 in 2009. That is an increase of 14% in just eight years. And since public transit and cycling ratios aren’t going up – that means more cars on the road.

ValleyRide’s bus system is underfunded and generally lacks frequency and expansive services times. Hopes to boost service through a local option tax remain just hopes for now. Cycling to work can be aided by improved infrastructure like bike lanes and bikeways – but the area’s climate will remain a challenge (heat in the summer, cold and ice in the winter).

Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don Day - BoiseDev Editor & Founder
Don is the founder and publisher of BoiseDev. He is a National Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Stanford University John S. Knight Fellow. Contact him at [email protected].

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