Commuting Mode Share: U.S., Salt Lake City

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Commuting Mode Share: U.S., Salt Lake City

All the requested information that we found or calculated with respect to modes of transportation in the U.S. and Salt Lake City is included in the attached spreadsheet. We also provided our research findings below, followed by an explanation of our research approach. The three data points we could neither find nor triangulate were the percentage of Salt Lake City's population that uses rideshare, a personal vehicle when traveling five or fewer miles, and a personal vehicle when traveling six or more miles.

United States

Total Population

  • As of May 18, 2020, the U.S. population was approximately 329,667,025.

Public Transportation

  • Survey results published in March 2020 showed that "38.1% of respondents said they never used public transportation." That means that the public transportation usage rate among Americans is 61.9% (100 - 38.1).
  • Those findings are corroborated by another survey conducted in late 2017, which showed that 57.4% of Americans surveyed have used public transportation, as "42.6 percent of respondents stated they have never used public transit, despite having access to it" (100 - 42.6 = 57.4).

Rideshare

  • A Fall 2018 survey conducted by Pew Research found that "36% of U.S. adults" have used rideshare.

Personal Vehicle Usage For Five or Fewer Miles

  • We were able to triangulate the estimated percentage of the U.S. population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling fewer than six miles, as we could not find that information directly available.
  • "The Federal Highway Administration’s National Household Travel Survey" from 2017 (the most recent available) stated that 59.4% of driving trips (for any purpose) completed by Americans were fewer than six miles.
  • With that data, we can triangulate the estimated percentage of the U.S. population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling fewer than six miles.
  • Since "86% of U.S. adults . . . own or lease a car or other vehicle" and there were 253,768,092 adults in the U.S. in 2018, that equates to approximately 218,240,559 individuals who "own or lease a car or other vehicle" (253,768,092 x 0.86).
  • Since 59.4% of Americans' driving trips were fewer than six miles, that means that approximately 129,634,892 American adults used a personal vehicle when traveling fewer than six miles (218,240,559 x 0.594). That equates to approximately 39.3% of the U.S. population (129,634,892 / 329,667,025 = 0.39322978086 x 100).

Personal Vehicle Usage For Six or More Miles

  • We were also able to triangulate the estimated percentage of the U.S. population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling six or more miles, as we could not find that information directly available either.
  • As was previously calculated, 218,240,559 adults in America "own or lease a car or other vehicle."
  • Since 40.6% of Americans' driving trips were for six or more miles (100 - 59.4% (percentage of trips five or fewer miles)), that means that approximately 88,605,667 American adults use a personal vehicle when traveling six or more miles (218,240,559 x 0.406). That equates to approximately 26.9% of the U.S. population (88,605,667 / 329,667,025 = 0.26877321746 x 100).

Population That Either Does Not Typically or Is Less Likely to Travel

  • Seniors (ages 65+) account for approximately 15.8% of the U.S. population.
  • We calculated the above-mentioned percentage based on the fact that in 2018 (the most-recent data we found) there were 52 million seniors in the U.S. (52,000,000 / 329,667,025 (U.S. population) = 0.15773491449 x 100).
  • Children (ages 17 and under) comprised 22% of the U.S. population, as of 2018.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Population

  • The current population of Salt Lake City is 213,367.

Public Transportation

  • Though we couldn't find the exact percentage of the city's population that uses public transportation, we found a few closely related statistics from which we calculated an average.
  • First, the 2017 Salt Lake City Transit Master Plan stated that "[a]pproximately 6% of Salt Lake City residents take transit to work; only 2% of all trips are made on transit."
  • Within that report, one particular survey found that "56% of survey respondents don’t take transit because it takes too long." Another survey found that "54% of survey respondents can’t get where they need to go via transit."
  • The Utah Transportation Authority has stated that "25% of commuters arriving in downtown Salt Lake City each day now arrive by public transportation."
  • Since those statistics vary in terms of rider type (i.e. commuter), we calculated the average of those percentages (6 + 2 + 56+ 54 + 25 = 143 / 5) and used that average percentage (28.6%) as the estimated percentage of the population that uses public transportation.

Rideshare

  • We could not find the percentage of the population that uses rideshare, as is explained in the Research Strategy section below.
  • The closest data point we could find came from a 2019 article published by The Salt Lake Tribune, which reported that rideshare companies "Uber and Lyft have now captured 60% of the ground transportation market at Salt Lake City International Airport." Thus, we used that percentage as a proxy for the percentage of the city's population that uses rideshare and denoted it with an asterisk in the spreadsheet.

Personal Vehicle Usage For Five or Fewer Miles

  • We could neither find nor triangulate the percentage of the population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling five or fewer miles.
  • The closest-related data point we found was that 89.4% of Utah households owned one or more vehicles (100% - the 10.6% that did not) as of 2016 (most-recent data we found). We denoted that percentage with an asterisk in the spreadsheet, since it is not an exact figure for this data point.

Personal Vehicle Usage For Six or More Miles

  • We could neither find nor triangulate the percentage of the population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling six or more miles.
  • The closest-related data point we found was that 89.4% of Utah households owned one or more vehicles (100% - the 10.6% that did not) as of 2016 (most-recent data we found). We denoted that percentage with an asterisk in the spreadsheet, since it is not an exact figure for this data point.

Population That Either Does Not Typically or Is Less Likely to Travel

  • Seniors comprise nine percent of Salt Lake City's population.
  • We calculated that children ages 17 and younger comprise 27.04% of Salt Lake County's population (the closest data we found). We calculated that percentage by adding the percentages for the age brackets of the county's residents through age 17 (7.58% + 7.49% + 7.53% + 4.44%).
  • Accordingly, the percentage of the city's population that either does not typically or is less likely to travel is 36.04% (9% + 27.04%).

Research Strategy

The three data points we could neither find nor triangulate were the percentage of Salt Lake City's population that uses rideshare, a personal vehicle when traveling five or fewer miles, and a personal vehicle when traveling six or more miles. We looked for each of those data points in three ways. With regard to the percentage of the city's population that uses rideshare, we tried looking for any such information in any articles from sources we checked such as The Salt Lake Tribune. Second, we adjusted the scope of our research by looking for the ridership percentage for specific companies (Uber, Lyft). Third, we expanded the scope of our research to include Utah overall. However, none of those three strategies yielded the information we sought. Thus, we provided the percentage that rideshare accounts for among ground transportation to and from Salt Lake City's airport in lieu thereof.

With regard to the percentage of the city's population that uses a personal vehicle when traveling five or fewer and six or more miles, we tried looking for information about both categories in three ways. First, we looked for any articles that might have directly stated that information, as we checked sources such as Deseret News, but to no avail. Second, we expanded the scope of our research to include Utah overall, but no information was available for that broader context either. Third, we checked the statistics portal Statista to see if any relevant survey data was included therein, but it was not. Thus, we provided the percentage of the city's population that owns a vehicle in lieu thereof.
Sources
Sources