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Interim Report to the U.S. Congress on the Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program SAFETEA-LU Section 1807

Chapter 1: Pilot Community Characteristics

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The four communities selected for participation in this pilot program exhibit a variety of demographic, economic, and transportation related characteristics. The communities differ in population and land area, but also in their existing bicycle and pedestrian networks and their organizational capacity to implement nonmotorized projects.

This chapter provides a comparative discussion of the four pilot communities, while Chapter 2 provides snapshots of each community's plans for implementation. Information for the control community -- Spokane, Washington -- provides context for comparing program impacts in 2010. The figures that appear in this chapter were created using data extracted from tables in the 2000 U.S. Decennial Census.

Table 1.1 provides an overview of the four pilot communities' characteristics, including data from the U.S. Census on existing travel behavior. Note that in some cases, a special geographic area was defined before data were extracted. Please see Table 1.1 footnotes for more information.

Documenting the communities' differences provides an excellent opportunity to better understand factors that may influence changes in travel behavior between 2006 and 2010. Nonmotorized facilities can be developed as components of an integrated multi-modal transportation system serving communities with very different demographic and physical characteristics. By documenting these characteristics in the early stages of the program, it becomes possible to discern patterns and trends in behavior change.

Table 1.1: Demographic and Economic Characteristics and Travel Behavior Among Communities

  City of Columbia Marin County City of Minneapolis Sheboygan County Average Among Pilots Spokane (Control)
Geographic Area (sq mi) 53.0 121.41 55.0 514.0 185.9 58.0
Persons per sq mi 1,592.8 19202 6,970.3 219.3 2,675.6 3,387.0
POPULATION
Total 84,531 233,1323 382,618 112,646 203,232 195,629
% enrolled in college or grad school 26.2 5.9 11.3 4.2 11.9 7.8
EDUCATION
Total population 25 and older 46,650 183,694 243,409 74,561 137,079 126,106
Less than high school 8.9 8.7 15.1 15.6 12.1 11.9
High school or equivalence 17.8 12.4 20.1 39.9 22.6 26.3
Some college, no degree 18.5 21.3 21.2 19.7 20.2 26.7
Associate or bachelors degree 30.8 37.0 29.9 19.7 29.4 25.9
Grad or professional degree 24.0 20.5 13.1 5.1 15.7 9.2
MEDIAN AGE 26.8 41.3 31.2 36.8 34.0 34.7
HOUSEHOLD INCOME
Total # of households 33,819 100,736 162,382 43,595 85,113 81,762
Less than $ 25,000 20.4 14.5 31.8 22.2 22.2 37.6
$ 25,000-49,999 26.8 19.4 31.0 19.5 24.2 32.5
$ 50,000-74,999 21.7 18.1 17.9 26.2 21.0 16.7
$ 75,000-99,999 14.9 12.9 9.0 11.2 12.0 6.6
$ 100,000 or more 16.2 35.1 9.3 7.7 17.1 6.4
Median household income (2006 $)4 $63,273 $86,286 $45,952 $55,951 $62,865 $39,053
RACE (includes Hispanic and non-Hispanic)
White (alone) 81.5 84.0 65.1 92.7 80.8 89.5
Black (alone) 10.9 2.9 18.0 1.1 8.2 2.1
Asian (alone) 4.3 4.5 6.1 3.3 4.6 2.2
Other race or multi-racial 3.2 8.7 10.9 3.1 6.5 5.8
Hispanic (any race) 2.1 11.1 7.6 3.3 7.8 2.7
WORK COMMUTE
Total # of workers 16 and over 44,919 126,646 203,951 58,546 108,516 88,299
Car, truck or van – drive alone 75.2 65.5 61.6 81.0 70.8 74.1
Car, truck or van – carpool 11.7 10.7 11.3 10.2 11.0 12.9
Public (includes taxi) 1.1 10.1 14.6 0.6 6.6 4.2
Walk 7.0 3.1 6.6 3.8 5.1 3.6
Other means 2.1 1.9 2.5 1.3 2.0 1.5
Worked at home 2.9 8.8 3.4 3.0 4.5 3.6
Mean travel time (minutes) 15.3 32.3 21.7 16.9 21.6 19.5
Bike commute (MSA) 0.95   0.44 0.25   0.57
HOUSEHOLD CHARACTERISTICS
Total # occupied units 33,689 100,652 162,352 43,545 85,060 81,512
Owner occupied 47.3 63.6 51.4 71.4 58.4 58.8
Renter occupied 52.7 36.4 48.6 28.6 41.6 41.2
Average household size 2.3 2.3 2.3 2.5 2.3 2.3
Households with own child under 18 26.1 27.5 22.6 32.3 27.1 29.4
Average number of vehicles per household (owner-occupied units) 1.9 2.0 1.6 2.0 1.9 2.0
Average number of vehicles per household (renter-occupied units) 1.5 1.4 1.0 1.2 1.3 1.2

OCTOBER CLIMATE
(in Degrees Fahrenheit)
Columbia Airport San Rafael Int'l Airport In city Average Among Pilots Int'l Airport
Average temp (max) 67.5 75.0 58.6 59.4 65.1 58.5
Average temp (min) 45.5 50.5 38.7 43.2 44.5 36.0
Inches of rain 3.1 1.7 1.9 2.5 2.3 1.2

Source for all demographic data: 2000 U.S. Decennial Census; Source for meteorological data: University of Minnesota research team.

1 The land area represents Marin's City-Centered Corridor, the eastern urbanized portion of the County.
2 Refers only to the population density in the City-Centered Corridor.
3 Population in all Census tracts lying wholly or partially in the City-Centered Corridor
4 U.S. Census 1999 dollars have been converted to 2006 dollars using the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator (http://www.bls.gov)

The following key community characteristics provide information that may help explain the amounts of nonmotorized travel in each community:

Population Demographics and Economic Characteristics

Population density is a critical factor affecting transportation planning decisions. Dense urban areas may be well suited for a transportation system designed to provide a broad range of transportation choices. Less dense regions may develop transportation networks that rely on high-volume roadways designed for maximum speed, efficiency, or access to specific nodes (like employment centers).

Of the four NTPP communities, Minneapolis, the eastern urbanized portion of Marin, and Columbia are densely populated (Figure 1.1); Minneapolis and Columbia include major universities. Sheboygan is sparsely populated. The control community (Spokane) has about half as many persons per square mile as Minneapolis, and about 50 percent more persons per square mile as the average among pilot communities. It should be noted that both Marin and Sheboygan have varied development patterns, with some undeveloped protected areas, dispersed corridor development, and densely built-out communities. Expectations for mode shift will differ across these varied geographies, and nonmotorized investments in each of these two pilots will center on the more developed (or densely populated) regions of their communities.

Figure 1.1: Population Density (Persons per Square Mile)

Chart showing population rates in the following 6 communities: Minneapolis; 6,957, Spokane (Control); 3,373, Average Among Pilots; 2,829, Marin; 1,920, Sheboygan; 219.

Level of education influences individuals' lifestyle choices, including their transportation choices. Data on the level of educational attainment among the population age 25 and over has been gathered for each NTPP community, and might later be correlated to mode shift and changes in transportation patterns (Figure 1.2).

Figure 1.2: Educational Attainment for Population Age 25+

This figure displays the educational attainment for Minneapolis, Columbia, Marin County, and Sheboygan. It also shows the average across these four communities as well as for Spokane, the control community. For each community except for Sheboygan, the majority of adults 25 years old and older have at least some college education.

It should be noted that these data do not include the share of each community's population currently enrolled in college or graduate school. One-quarter of Columbia's population (26.2 percent) and more than one-tenth of Minneapolis' population (11.3 percent) are currently enrolled in higher education. On average, almost half of the population across all four pilot communities (45.1 percent) has obtained a higher degree. Marin and Sheboygan stand in contrast to one another: more than half of Marin residents (57.5 percent) have a college degree, while an almost identical share of Sheboygan residents (55.5 percent) attained a high school diploma (or equivalent), or less.

As with educational attainment, household income influences individual lifestyle choices, including transportation and mobility decisions (Figure 1.3). Households with incomes above the national median may be able to spend more on transportation costs. Households with lower median incomes may be more limited in their transportation options. In some cases, travelers may choose automobiles or transit; in other cases they may choose nonmotorized options. In all four pilot communities and in the control community, median household income (in 2006 dollars) is well above the current U.S. poverty level of $20,000. Note, however, that the range among communities is large - more than $40,000 separates median incomes in Marin and Minneapolis.

Figure 1.3: Median Household Income (in 2006 dollars)

Graph showing Median Household Income in 2006 dollars for the following 5 communities plus the average: Marin; $86,286, Columbia; $63,273, Average Among Pilots; $62,865, Sheboygan; $55,951, Minneapolis; $45,952, Spokane (Control); $39,053

TRAVEL BEHAVIOR

The average number of minutes an individual spends commuting to work can influence mobility decisions and commuting patterns. Issues such as traffic congestion, rising gasoline prices, and growing distances between work and home could prompt individuals to expand their chosen modes of transportation to include transit or nonmotorized options, perhaps in combination. Among the four pilot communities, Marin residents experience the longest work commutes at more than half an hour (Figure 1.4). Columbia residents experience the shortest commute, at approximately one-quarter hour. The data displayed in this figure are obtained from the 2000 decennial U.S. Census; directly comparable data will need to be gathered through other sources at the closing stages of the pilot program, as new Census data will not be readily available in 2010.

Figure 1.4: Average Commute Time (in Minutes)

Graph showing average commute times in Minutes for the following 5 communities plus the average: Columbia; 15, Sheboygan; 17, Spokane (Control); 20, Average Among Pilots; 22, Minneapolis; 22, Marin; 32

How long it takes an individual to get to work depends on the worker's means of commute. In all four pilot communities (Figure 1.5), an overwhelming share of workers age 16 and over commutes by vehicle (including carpooling and driving alone). Note, however, that Minneapolis has a relatively high share of workers commuting by walking, public transit and other means. It is also interesting to note that Marin displays more than double the number of "work-at-home" workers than the other communities.

Figure 1.5: Means of Commute (for Workers Age 16+)

This figure displays the method that workers at least 16 years old use to commute in Minneapolis, Columbia, Marin County, and Sheboygan. The figure also displays an average across these 4 communities and the same numbers for Spokane, the control community. For each location, the majority of commuting is done by single occupancy vehicle. The average across the 4 pilot communities is that 5 percent work at home, 5 percent walk, 7 percent take transit, 11 percent carpool, 71 percent drive alone, and 2 percent use some other means. The data for Spokane are very similar to these averages.

This summary begins to paint a picture of each community using selected demographic characteristics, and will help us understand the kinds of transportation choices residents make. This information helps define the community context for the four pilot programs, and can be valuable when juxtaposed against each pilot's use of program funds to generate positive impacts in their communities.

Finally, please see Tables 1.2 and 1.3, and their related notes. The tables include data provided by various sources, including the pilot communities, State Departments of Transportation (SDOTs), the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), and the University of Minnesota (through its Phase I research).

Table 1.2 presents information about each community's existing transportation network, while Table 1.3 presents information about transportation usage, and travel behavior. Both tables provide additional context for the individual descriptions of NTPP activities in the four pilot communities that appear in Chapter 2.

Table 1.2: Transportation Network in Pilot and Control Communities

  City of Columbia Marin County City of Minneapolis Sheboygan County Spokane (Control)
Transportation Network
Public transit buses 1 24 263 843 41 288
Number of track miles of light rail 2     24.2    
Number of ferryboat vessels 3   4      
Annual Vehicle Revenue Miles 4 540,281 6,361,243 25,884,056 716,854 7,855,371
Bicycle and Pedestrian Network
Miles of off-road lanes or pathways 25 miles 33.7 miles 57 miles 35.5 miles Unavailable
Miles of marked or striped bike lanes 28 miles 35.8 miles 38 miles 1.75 miles Unavailable
Miles of sidewalks 350 miles Unavailable 1841 miles 414 miles Unavailable
Percent of roadways with sidewalks on at least one side of street 61% Unavailable 91% Unavailable Unavailable
Total Fare Revenues 5 $196,190 $23,420,295 $66,073,401 $490,035 $5,847,503

1 "Vehicles Available for Maximum Service" from Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles.

2 From Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Data Tables (Table 23).

3 Number of ferryboat vehicles operated in maximum service by Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District from Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Data Tables (Table 24)

4 "Annual Vehicle Revenue Miles" from Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles. This figure represents the number of miles that vehicles travel while in revenue service. Vehicle revenue miles (VRM) include layover/recovery time, but exclude deadhead, operator training and maintenance testing, as well as school bus and charter services.

5 "Total Fare Revenues Earned" from Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles.

Table 1.3: Transportation Usage and Travel Behavior Among Communities

  City of Columbia Marin County City of Minneapolis Sheboygan County Spokane (Control)
Transportation Usage
Total annual "unlinked" public transit trips 1 540,181 9,465,372 69,698,813 544,904 8,280,757
Total annual passenger miles 2 2,092,610 95,828,152 309,677,298 1,926,024 40,931,915
Average weekday "unlinked" public transit trips 3 1,898 31,673 227,373 2,000 28,634
Bicycle
Average daily trips 4 3.82 2.81 3.56 2.18 2.45
Average trip distance 5 7.94 miles 8.55 miles 8.33 miles 7.72 miles 8.55 miles
Average trip duration 6 47.7 min. 51.3 min. 50.0 min. 46.3 min. 51.3 min.
Pedestrian
Average daily trips 7 2.54 2.43 2.54 2.17 2.18
Average trip distance 8 2.12 miles 2.31 miles 2.29 miles 2.22 miles 2.18 miles
Average trip duration 9 42.4 min. 46.2 min. 45.9 min. 44.4 min. 43.6 min.
Percent of trips to/from transit via bicycling/walking 89% 45% 88% 84% 78%
Percent of trips to/from transit via driving 11% 55% 12% 16% 22%
Reduced auto use due to bicycling and walking (miles per adult per day) 10 0.447 miles 0.668 miles 0.816 miles 0.256 miles 0.310 miles
Total annual estimated reduction in auto travel due to bicycling and walking (in miles) 11,044,959 48,281,361 91,125,498 8,433,901 17,708,337
Automobile Vehicle Miles Traveled 11 6,565,000 6,701,100 18,320,836,280 1,045,719,000 Unavailable
Travel Behavior by Mode 12
Vehicular 86% 82.0% 69.0% 89.0% 85.0%
Rideshare 2.8% 1.4% 2.2% 2.4% 2.0%
Transit 2.2% 3.2% 9.7% 1.2% 4.1%
Bicycling 1.5% 1.8% 2.0 0.7% 0.8%
Walking 8.6% 11.8% 17.6% 6.6% 8.5%

1 Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles; public transit boardings.

2 Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles; one passenger riding one mile is one passenger mile.

3 Federal Transit Administration's National Transit Database 2005 Transit Agency Profiles.

4 University of Minnesota study. Data represent average number of trips by commuters, per day, and excludes other destinations.

5 University of Minnesota study. Data are measured in miles, and refer to total daily miles for commuters only, not destinations. The total daily mileage has been calculated by UMN, and is a function of average daily bicycling duration multiplied by distance covered at typical bicycling speed of 10 miles per hour.

6 University of Minnesota study. UMN calculated this figure based on the percentage of trips that fall into each of three categories of trip duration. Actual duration in minutes was not solicited from UMN survey respondents; rather, respondents categorized their trip duration according to three ranges (10-29 min., 30-59 min., and 60+ min.). An average total daily bicycling duration was derived from this information.

7 University of Minnesota study. The data points in this row represent the average daily number of pedestrian trips taken by commuters, not destination walkers.

8 University of Minnesota study. Data are measured in miles, and refer to total daily miles for commuters only, not destinations. The total daily mileage has been calculated by UMN, and is a function of average daily walking duration multiplied by distance covered at typical walking speed of 3 miles per hour.

9 University of Minnesota study. Actual duration of daily walking (in minutes) was not solicited from UMN survey respondents; rather, respondents categorized their total daily walking duration according to three ranges (see footnote 8, above). An average daily walking duration was derived from this information.

10 University of Minnesota study. These data represent total number of miles of avoided auto use per adult resident per day, and represent the average of upper bound and lower bound estimates.

11 Marin County: Metropolitan Transportation Commission (2007). Minneapolis data are from MnDOT (2001), and include all VMT in Anoka, Hennepin, and Ramsey Counties. Sheboygan County: Wisconsin State DOT (2005). Columbia data are from the City of Columbia, MO.

12 University of Minnesota study. Data points represent percentage of total person trips by each of five modes. Due to rounding, totals may not sum to 100%.

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Updated: 12/10/2014
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