Previous research has shown that public transit use may be associated with active transportation. Access to a car may influence active transportation of transit riders.
Using the 2009 United States National Household Travel Survey (NHTS), transit users ≥ 16 years old (n = 25,550) were categorized according to driver status and number of cars and drivers in the household. This typology ranged from choice transit riders (ie, “fully motorized drivers”) to transit-dependent riders (ie, “unmotorized nondriver”). Transit trips, walking trips, and bicycling trips of transit users are estimated in negative binomial models against the car availability typology.
Sixteen percent of participants took transit in the past month; most (86%) lived in car-owning households. As income increased, car availability also increased. Transit user groups with lower car availability were generally more likely than fully motorized drivers to take more public transit, walking, and bicycle trips. Transit riders have varying levels of vehicle access; their use of combinations of alternative modes of transportation fluctuates accordingly. Transit-dependent individuals without cars or sharing cars used active transportation more frequently than car owners.
Policies to reduce vehicle ownership in households may enable increases in the use of alternative modes of transportation for transit users, even when cars are still owned.