VERMONT ECONOMIST ART WOOLF DOESN’T READ THIS BLOG
Vermont Economist Art Wolf keeps Burlington Free Press readers up with financial and demographic statistics in an engaging column each week, but presenting data on commuting in Vermont (When it comes to commuting Vermonters are just like everyone else, Free Press, February 7) Economist Wolf apparently does not read this blog which on January 25 found in the same 2000-2010 data sets “Vermont dumps the car to get to work.”
Wolf missed the home-to-work trends during a ten-year period of time when the number of employed Vermonters grew by over 9,000 and those traveling to work by car actually declined 17, not a lot, but a historic trend change. Meanwhile, Vermont worker commuting by public transit grew 72% to 3,140, by bicycle by 107% to 2,022, and walking 12.7% to 19,778. The percentage of solo and carshare commuters dropped from 87.1% to 84.6%.
The news from the 2000-2010 tabulation really stands out: the first trend away from carcentricity in commuting since the end of World War II when the last vestiges of trolley, passenger rail, and bicycling commuting headed toward permanent lows leading to the overwhelming 80-90% commuting by car which continued on an upward slope--until 2000 when the tide began to turn.
Several factors play into this historic change—and my January 25 blog examines some of those factors. As important, it is clear that the downtrend in car commuting is likely to continue, and so too will increases in modal share for the non-car modes likely get repeated for some decades to come.
Economist Wolf may well be correct that Vermont is much like the U.S. in commuting but that commuting increasingly, at least in Vermont, now moves away for the first time from car travel to other modes.