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Comprehensive Travel Survey Shows More Californians Are Walking, Biking, and Riding Transit


SACRAMENTO – Results from the California Household Travel Survey – the largest and most complex review of its kind – show that the percentage of California residents walking, biking, or using public transportation on a typical day has more than doubled since 2000.

“Based on this research, we can make good decisions about transportation that will improve mobility, air quality, and travel choices for all Californians and make our state a better place to live and work,” said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty.

Nearly 23 percent of household trips were taken by walking, biking, and public transportation. In 2000, that share was only 11 percent. This increase includes a dramatic increase in walking trips, which nearly doubled from 8.4 percent to 16.6 percent of trips.

“This increasing interest in many transportation choices is another reason why we are on the path to more sustainability in California,” said California State Transportation Agency Secretary Brian Kelly. “Caltrans will continue improving the state’s transportation system to help ensure Californians have many viable choices for how to travel.”

The 2012 study provides a snapshot of the travel behavior of approximately 109,000 persons from more than 42,000 households in 58 California counties, this included parents driving to work or kids biking to school.

Participants received diaries and recorded where and when they travelled and how they got to and from their destinations on one random day. The average number of trips for a household was 9.2, while the average number of trips per person was 3.6.

“Californians are increasingly choosing alternatives to driving a car for work and play. That’s a shift with real benefits for public health that also cuts greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollution,” said Chairman of the California Air Resources Board Mart D. Nichols. “California is committed to supporting this shift with better planning to support sustainable communities and healthier, low-carbon choices for travel.”

Last year, legislation was approved creating California’s $129 million Active Transportation Program, which distributes funding for human-powered transportation projects and programs to increase the proportion of trips accomplished by biking and walking.

“Californians are increasingly determined to get places on their own power, and Caltrans is determined to help them do that,” said Dougherty. “Active transportation projects, such as bicycle and pedestrian paths, are an important part of achieving mobility, safety, and sustainability goals for California’s transportation system.”

Caltrans and regional transportation planning agencies will use the CHTS data to forecast future travel demands and greenhouse gas emissions and look for ways to improve transportation to meet the needs of the state’s residents.

The CHTS was a partnership among Caltrans, the California Air Resources Board, the California Energy Commission (CEC), the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the California Department of Public Health, and transportation planning agencies statewide. The survey data will be used by all of the agencies for various purposes. The study was jointly funded by Caltrans, the Strategic Growth Council, CEC, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, and seven transportation planning agencies. Their generous contributions are as follows:

Caltrans: $4,221,000
Strategic Growth Council: $2,028,000
Metropolitan Transportation Commission: $1,515,000
Southern California Association of Governments: $1,415,834
Council of Fresno County Governments: $49,500
Kern Council of Governments: $118,000
Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments: $183,810
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District: $150,000
Santa Barbara County Association of Governments: $33,000
Tulare County Association of Governments: $49,500
California Energy Commission: $250,000

The CHTS has been conducted roughly every 10 years since 1991. The most recent review began in January 2012 and ended in February 2013. The survey data will assist the department in developing and updating transportation models. The entire report is available at: