Wednesday, June 10, 2015
More people prefer working at home to taking transit
June 9, 2015
Updated June 8, 2015 5:12 p.m.
By ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER EDITORIAL
As urban planners continue to spend tax dollars on archaic transportation alternatives to the automobile, technology, which has already bypassed many of those modes of conveyance, continues to march forward.
Witness a report on Newgeography.com, a site offering expert analysis on demographic and urban issues, and led by executive editor Joel Kotkin, Roger Hobbs Distinguished Fellow in Urban Studies at Chapman University and a Register opinion columnist.
The report cites data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2013 that working from home, or telecommuting, has surpassed transit, “as the principal commuting alternative to the automobile” in much of the U.S.
“Overall, working at home leads transit in 37 of the 52 major metropolitan areas (over 1 million population in 2013),” the report reads. “Only two of the top 10 metropolitan areas have larger transit shares than work-at-home shares.”
San Diego came in fourth overall, with 6.38 percent of people claiming to work from home. But while that city has built a robust transit network, transit claims “approximately one half its working-at-home share,” at 3.17 percent of commuters.
“Nine of the top 10 working at home metropolitan areas have built or expanded rail systems, yet working at home has grown far faster than transit,” the report states. “The exception is Seattle, where transit has grown faster, but nearly all the increase has been on buses and ferries.”
Given this reality, and particularly the inefficiency of rail transit, instead of planning trolleys, multimillion-dollar transit centers for a bullet train that may never arrive, area governments should heed commuters’ preferences and focus on transportation options that best serve them, not engage in social engineering or indulge in fanciful projects funded by other people’s money.