Commentary

Work at Home Trumps Transit in Many Major Cities

Wendell Cox has crunched the numbers from the U.S. Bureau of the Census Journey to Work data for 2009 and found that the share of workers working at home is growing faster than transit users. Overall, public transit still has an edge–thanks largely to New York City, Chicago, and San Francisco–but most large metropolitan areas have found that the growth in work-at-home workers have outstripped public transit commuters. Transit commuters make up 5 percent of the total (6.9 million) while people working at home make up 4.3 percent of all workers (5.9 million).

Among the metro areas with one million or more people, more work-at-home “commuters” than public transit commuters:

  • Dallas-Fort Worth
  • Houston
  • Miami-West Palm Beach
  • Atlanta
  • Detroit
  • Phoenix
  • Riverside, CA
  • San Diego
  • Saint Louis
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg
  • Denver
  • Portland, OR
  • Cincinnati
  • Sacamento
  • Orlando
  • San Antonio
  • Kansas City
  • Las Vegas
  • San Jose
  • Columbus, OH
  • Charlotte
  • Indianapolis
  • Austin
  • Norfolk
  • Providence
  • Nashville
  • Jacksonville
  • Memphis
  • Louisville
  • Richmond
  • Oklahoma City
  • Hartford
  • New Orleans
  • Birmingham
  • Salt Lake City
  • Raleigh
  • Rochester
  • Tuscon

Notably, public transit has seen total ridership increase by 12.3 percent since 2000 (although declines were experienced in 23 major metro areas). Work at Home numbers, however, increased 23 percent.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.