American Community Survey Helps Chart Success and Challenges of GO TO 2040 Implementation
On December 8, 2011, the U.S. Census Bureau published the 2006-2010 American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimates, which provide a rolling sample of detailed population characteristics over the past several years.
The ACS data is available to the public. A more detailed analysis and instructions for accessing the data can be found on CMAP's Census page.
- The CMAP region shows an increase in overall use of public transportation, with Bus and Subway/Elevated systems showing the highest numeric gains. Because these systems are concentrated in Cook County, it indicates that -- if public transportation is available -- workers will use it.
- The data also shows increases in less expensive, more environmentally friendly modes of transportation. Bicycle use increased by 89 percent, and walking to work rose by 3 percent in the region. In addition, the number of workers working at home increased by 47 percent.
- On the other hand, it appears that some transportation patterns are ingrained. The number of workers who drove alone to work increased by 143,000, while the net gain for all other means of transportation was 5,100 workers. This is accompanied by a decrease of 62,000 workers in carpooling.
- Most commutes in the region are in the 30 to 34 minute time travel range and growing. The most prevalent increases are in Kane, Kendall, and Will Counties, where travel times increased regardless of the distance traveled.
- Persons enrolled in school grew by 3 percent (about 235,000) in the region. This figure includes a decrease of 93,000 persons in Cook County. Will County had the greatest number increase of enrolled persons (51,000), and Kendall County had the greatest percentage increase (139 percent).
The increase in public transit and environmentally friendly means of transportation is encouraging news in support of GO TO 2040 recommendations. There is, however, cause for concern about the increased number of persons driving alone. Increased commute times in outlying areas indicate drivers may be facing more congestion, are living farther from their jobs, or both. A drop in school enrollment in the mature portions of the region indicates a continued trend toward suburbanization of young families.