The way we get to work is also related to our political cleavages. On the one hand, commuters in more progressive metros—those where Hillary Clinton got a bigger share of votes in the 2016 election—are more likely to walk (0.44), bike (0.44), or use transit (0.59), and less likely to drive to work alone (-0.36). Commuters in more conservative metros, where a larger share voted for Trump, are more likely to drive to work alone (0.44). This reflects the fact, though, that more liberal metros tend also to be denser, more affluent, and more educated.
Our commuting patterns are associated with key dimensions of what I dub the new urban crisis. Housing is less affordable, inequality greater, and economic segregation higher in places where commuters are less dependent on the car. Median housing costs are positively and significantly associated with transit (0.59), biking (0.48), carpooling (0.49), and walking (0.38) to work, and so are income inequality and economic segregation. These associations again reflect the fact that denser, more affluent, educated metros are more expensive, more unequal, and more segregated.
Our analysis shows a country and a people divided in how they get to work. Americans cleave into two distinct nations based on commuting: One, based in smaller, less advantaged, and more sprawling metros, depends on the car, while the other, based in large, denser, more advantaged, and more educated metros, uses a variety of alternative modes. Driving to work alone in a car is negatively and significantly associated with each and every alternative mode, especially so with biking (-0.47) or walking to work (-0.53).
For a Better Economy, Add Commuter Rail?, STEPHEN MILLER, AUG 10, 2016
Let’s Rethink What a ‘Bike Lane’ Is ANDREW SMALL AUG 24, 2018