Chart of the Day: Commuting by Automobile 1960 – 2013

At this point, it’s perhaps over-wrought to talk about millennials and their trends. But there it is, the auto commuting trend line sinking down like a fishing pole. Via the Census blog, here’s a chart from the most recent American Community Survey (ACS) data:

commuting ACS data chart


As you can see, most people drive. Most people drive alone. But here’s the generational break down:

commuting and generations chart

Here’s what Brian McKenzie at the Census says about the decline:

In 2013, about 74 percent of workers ages 16 to 24 living in principal cities commuted by automobile, compared with about 80 percent of the oldest workers. Workers between the ages of 25 and 29 living in principal cities showed the largest auto commuting declines since 2006, at about 4 percentage points. This is also the group that was least likely to have a vehicle at home in 2013.


These are very slow-moving trends, and changing a city’s commute mode share does not happen overnight. So most people are likely to be driving alone in their cars for a some time to come.

Bill Lindeke

About Bill Lindeke

Pronouns: he/him

Bill Lindeke has writing blogging about sidewalks and cities since 2005, ever since he read Jane Jacobs. He is a lecturer in Urban Studies at the University of Minnesota Geography Department, the Cityscape columnist at Minnpost, and has written multiple books on local urban history. He was born in Minneapolis, but has spent most of his time in St Paul. Check out Twitter @BillLindeke or on Facebook.