More Work at Home than Take Transit, Transit Retreats into Niche Markets

The new American Community Survey data indicates at least two significant narratives with respect to work access trends (commuting and working at home). One is transit work is becoming even more concentrated in only six of the nation’s 20,000 municipalities, the six transit legacy cities. The second is that working at home has passed transit in access to jobs, it now trails only driving alone and car pools.

. . . It has been predicted for some time that working at home would exceed transit commuting, as I did in a 2010 column on 2009 ACS data. It finally happened in 2017. Now, working at home leads transit in work access in 43 of the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas. The 10 in which transit leads working at home includes the six transit legacy cities, Baltimore, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, and Seattle.

Many fast growing areas, many with strong tech economies, dominate the list. This year, Raleigh leads the nation in work access from home, with a 9.1% share. Austin and Denver are at 8.7% and 8.5% respectively. Portland is fourth, at 7.7%, while Tampa-St. Petersburg ranks fifth at 7.4%.
Among the top ten work at home metropolitan areas, all but two have at least nearly twice as great work access from home as by transit. San Francisco is the only metropolitan area with a transit legacy city in the top ten in working at home, ranked 9th (Figure 3).

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