• Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.
      Learn about the conditions that led to Frank Furness' most incredible masterworks, including the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts seen here, on Wednesday.

Only 10 percent of Philadelphians walk or bike to work

As part of its ever-expanding social media outreach efforts, the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities (MOTU) released the last of its three-part, “Tidbit Tuesday” series on Center City commuting patterns this week.  The series, which ran on MOTU’s blog, used colorful maps to show where workers who commute by car, bus or van versus public transit and biking or walking live. 

According to the maps, 60 percent of Philadelphia commuters drive a car, bus or van to work. Twenty-six percent take public transit, and a measly 10 percent of residents bike or walk to work.

MOTU’s senior planner/analyst Ariel Ben-Amos said these numbers are not surprising, but the maps provided an opportunity for MOTU to share visually appealing infographics and help people understand what kind of data MOTU reviews. 

“Data can tell you some really exciting things,” Ben-Amos said. 

Part of the idea is to promote the importance of data in everyday life and city planning. 

Each of the commuter percentages is an average, and the maps show how commuting patterns across the city vary. For instance, in the Northeast, the majority of workers commute by automobile. Car commuting levels are lower in the Central, Lower North and University/South West districts. 

The highest percentages of public transit commuters live in the North, Lower North and West districts, and the highest percentages of walking and bicycling commuters live in the Central District and University City.

The maps are based on data from the 2007-2011 American Community Survey. 

    • MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
      MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
    • MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
      MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
    • MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
      MOTU maps show how commuting patterns vary across Philadelphia. Map courtesy of MOTU
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About the author

Christine Fisher, Transportation reporter

From 2012-2014 Christine covered transportation, writing about everything from pedestrian concerns to bicycle infrastructure, bridges, trail networks, public transit and more. Her favorite assignments sent her bushwhacking through Philadelphia’s yet-to-be-cleared bike trails, catching a glimpse of SEPTA’s inner workings or pounding the pavement to find out what pedestrians really think. Christine also covered community news for Eyes on the Street, where her work ranged from food sovereignty to public art and urban greening. She first joined PlanPhilly in fall 2011 as an intern through a partnership with Temple University’s Philadelphia Neighborhoods website. 


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