A recent report shows reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in Colorado’s largest urbanized areas, Denver and Colorado Springs. In addition, both cities saw greater use of public transit and Denver saw greater use in biking.

The report, “Transportation in Transition: A Look at Changing Travel Patterns in America’s Biggest Cities,” is based on the most current available government data. It is the first ever national study to compare transportation trends for America’s largest cities.

Courtney Stone, a community organizer with The Independence Center, spoke at the media release of this report about her personal choice to drive less. She stated some ways that alternative transportation options serve the larger community, but more specifically, the population of people (with or without disabilities), who do not have the option to drive personal cars and rely on transit and other forms of transportation in order to fully access their community.

While some people are choosing to drive less, alternative transportation serves the greater need of providing choices to people with disabilities when other options may be limited. CoPIRG will be working on a state-wide level to advocate for more funding for alternative transportation; the community organizing department of The Independence Center will be partnering with them in the future to advocate for more accessible transportation in Colorado Springs.

The study found that cities with the largest decreases in driving were not those hit hardest by the recession. On the contrary, the economies of urbanized areas with the largest declines in driving appear to have been less affected by the recession according to unemployment, income and poverty indicators.

Quick Facts from the report:

  • The proportion of workers commuting by private vehicle—either alone or in a carpool—declined in 99 out of 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and the 2007-2011 period.
  • In Colorado Springs driving miles per capita decreased by 6.0%. In the Denver urbanized area, there was a 10.6% decrease in vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) per capita from 2006 to 2011. The decrease in Denver was the 9th largest percent decrease among America’s 100 largest cities.
  • The percent of workers commuting by private vehicle in the Colorado Springs urbanized area fell 3.4 percent between 2000 and the 2007 to 2011 period—the 8thlargest reduction out of the 100 largest urbanized areas in the U.S. In Denver the drop was 2.8%, 17th largest.
  • The number of passenger miles travelled on transit per capita increased 13.5 percent in Denver between 2005 and 2010. In Colorado Springs, transit passenger miles per person increased by 4.2 percent. Measured in terms of the number of trips taken on public transit per-capita, Denver witnessed a 3.5 percent increase from 2005 to 2010.
  • The proportion of households without a car increased 0.7 percent in the Colorado Springs urbanized area between 2006 and 2011. This proportion fell in 84 of the largest 100 urbanized areas. Likewise, the proportion of households with two or more vehicles fell in 86 out the 100 most populous urbanized areas during this period, including Colorado Springs, where it fell 2.9 percent.
  • The proportion of residents working out of their home increased in all 100 of America’s most populous urbanized areas between 2000 and 2010, including in Colorado Springs which had a 1.3% increase.

Driving Is Declining and Non-Driving Transportation Is Increasing in Urbanized Areas