How Millennials are Changing Commuting

Check out these charts to see how millennials are changing commuting — and why it is so important that the Pike District become walkable, bikeable, and transit-oriented.

  • In 2015, Millennials became the largest and most diverse generation in America.

  • Millennials will shape our workforce for decades to come, composing 75% of the workforce in 2025.

  • Millennials more often indicate a moderate or strong preference for living in car-optional locations

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  • Millennials also more often indicate walkable and transit friendly neighborhoods are important to them.

  • As Millennials have entered the workforce, the number of bike and pedestrian commuters in the Washington, DC area have risen by 12,648 from 2000 to 2012.

Read more here.

Updates From the Great MoCo Bike Summit

We attended the Great MoCo Bike Summit on Saturday. About 70 people attend the event, with about half that decided to join the community bike ride from Silver Spring along the Capital Crescent trail to the Jane E. Lawton Recreational Center in Bethesda. The event began with an introduction from Councilmember Hans Riemer. Riemer discussed that the essential parts of boosting biking culture will be to bring changes to the urban areas throughout the county, to major commuter routes, and to create recreational areas that are conducive to biking.

Shane Farthing, from Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), discussed the types of people that policymakers and enthusiastic bikers should try to reach out to in the community. WABA found that 11,700 Montgomery County residents are biking supporters, people who have expressed interest in some of WABA’s programming. There are four types of individuals related to biking: no way, no how; interested but concerned; enthusiastic and willing; and fearless and strong. To boost biking in the county, we need to reach the 60% of the population that fall in the interested but concerned category. These people may have not considered biking, are not safe biking, do not feel safe biking, or do not feel comfortable biking. The first few steps in changing resident’s behaviors is to provide them with information and to get them to question their current routines that may involve vehicle transportation. Then safety concerns need to be address, including perceived safety. Essentially, to boost bike culture means we need to be able to change our lifestyle, our routines.

Dave Anspacher, from Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), discussed the more policy side of boosting biking culture in the county. The county received a grant from the Council of Governments to complete a Network Connectivity Study that studies the level of traffic stress experienced in certain areas.  The county is able to see areas where connecting islands of safe bike routes or walking routes need to be connected in the future. The pilot study was a part of the Bethesda Downtown Plan. The next step the county needs to take is to update the County Bikeway Plan, which was last updated in 2005.

Pat Shepherd, the Bikeways Coordinator for MCDOT, discussed that the county is focusing on implementing buffered bike lanes and cycle tracks currently. These are what residents have asked for. Fred Lees, Traffic Engineer, also discussed the resurfacing of streets that is taking place creating bike lanes (such as the Marinelli Road proposed bike lanes).

Anne Root, coordinator of the Capital Bikeshare program at MCDOT, really focused on the fact that the Bikeshare program is another public transportation system. It helps increase public health, decrease vehicle occupancy, and boost economic development. As we have discussed in past posts, biking can help bring profit to businesses because bikers are more likely to make more than one stop along strip of stores than a driver who will want to stay in close proximity to their parked car. Bikeshare sent a survey to their 2013 annual members, and 40% of the respondents said they made at least one trip they would have never made because of the bike, which are called “induced” trip, inducing people to spend money. The Bikeshare program has reduced 4.4 million driving miles across the Washington area, cutting back the vehicle traffic that has overcome this area.

Near the end of the summit, a resident from White Flint, discussed the need to bring more biking infrastructure to the White Flint sector. Right now, Nebel Street is the only proposed area that will have bike lanes.  Jack Cochrane from MoBike agreed with the statement and added that we should think about adding some new facilities in the White Flint area that are not necessarily part of the plan.

This is where the Urban Road Code bill that Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Roger Berliner are working on comes in. Updating the codes will allow for more biking infrastructures to take place. The council needs to hear from residents to understand how important these improvements will be for them.

Five ways commuting is ruining your life

What are the five ways commuting is ruining your life, according to the Wall Street Journal?

They don’t count the most obvious one, money, though they do talk about it briefly in the beginning of the segment. They focus on the rising cost of fueling your car, but mention that when fuel prices go up the cost of public transportation can also go up. Carpooling can save $1,800 a year on your commute.

1. Neck and back pain – caused by being stationary for so long. The time you spend in traffic could be spent doing other activities, like exercising to counter some of this pain. On a related note, long commutes mean…

2. Time away from your marriage/family life – the time you spend alone in your car is time you aren’t spending with your loved ones. Long commuters are more likely to suffer marital problems or even get divorced.

3. Weight gain – along with being stationary in your car for long stretches of time, you are also more likely to frequent fast food restaurants when you have a long commute, and less likely to go grocery shopping.

4. Pollution – Personal transportation is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – WSJ says it’s #2 after coal-fired power plants for greenhouse gas emissions, or 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Depression – Unsurprisingly, when asked to create their “perfect day,” commuting was at the very bottom of people’s list.

This list provides a stark contrast to the benefits of active travel. And, as we’ve written before, if something doesn’t change we will continue to experience traffic problems and even longer commutes as our community continues to grow.