June 13, 2007 / 11:29 PM / 11 years ago

Bostonians walk to work, Portlanders cycle, but most drive

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Boston has the highest percentage of commuters who walk to work, Portland can boast the most cycling commuters, but the vast majority of Americans still drive to work, according to a U.S. Census Bureau study.

Cars sit in traffic heading North on the Florida Turnpike after tourists are ordered to evacuate from the vulnerable Florida Keys in this file photo from August 28, 2006. REUTERS/Marc Serota

Analysis of data from the American Community Survey, gathered in 2005 and released on Wednesday, found nine out of 10 workers, or 87.7 percent, drive to work with most people, 77 percent, driving alone despite rising fuel costs.

In contrast, 4.7 percent of commuters used public transportation to get to work in 2005 which was an increase of about 0.1 percent over levels five years earlier.

“With each succeeding year, we’ll be able to see how people respond to changing circumstances, such as rising gas prices,” Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said in a statement.

About half of the commuters who use public transport — or 2.9 million of 6.2 million people — could be found in 10 of the U.S.’s 50 cities with the most workers age 16 or over.

The top cities for commuting by public transport were Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

Los Angeles and Houston had lower rates of commuters using public transport than many smaller cities including Minneapolis and Seattle.

Portland, Oregon, was found to have the highest percentage of bicycle commuters among large cities with about 3.5 percent of its workers pedaling to work. This is about eight times the national average of 0.4 percent.

Boston, however, had the highest percentage among large cities of employees who walk to work with 13 percent. Nationally, 2.5 percent of Americans walked to work.

But while most people drive to work, the analysis found only about one in 10 workers, or 10.7 percent, car pool and three-fourths of car poolers, or 77.3 percent, ride with just one other person.

Large cities with some of the highest rates of car pooling include Fresno in California, Honolulu, and Mesa, Arizona.

And the city where the most workers have given up commuting? San Francisco, where 6.3 percent of employees work from home compared to the national average of 3.6 percent.

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