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Commuters: Transit pass more valuable than parking space

Workers in downtown Denver placed a higher value on a transit pass than they did on a parking space in the Downtown Denver Partnership's annual commuter survey.

The 2016 Downtown Denver Commuter Survey revealed that 87 percent of employees rate a transit pass as a very valuable or valuable employer-provided benefit, which is also the most common employer-provided transit benefit with 68 percent of employees receiving a fully or partially subsidized transit pass.

"It's clear that employers play a big role in impacting commuting habits," says Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership. "Specifically, when employers offer employees a transit pass as part of their employee benefits, they are 67 percent more likely to use transit and 28 percent less likely to drive alone. It's imperative we work closely with employers and transportation providers to encourage employees to consider alternative modes of transportation in order to achieve our goal to create a truly multi-modal center city."

Also notable is that for the first time in five years, the number of people driving alone (40.3 percent, up from 38.5 percent in 2015) exceeds the number of people who regularly use transit (39.6 percent, down from 40.6 percent in 2015). Seventy-four percent of those who regularly drive to work alone are open to considering other modes.

"Our goal is to increase the number of people choosing to bike, walk and take transit while reducing the number of people who drive alone to under 35 percent by 2021," Door says. 

It's not just new options that impact commuting decisions. Factors like age and gender and commute length, which averages 13 miles among all commuters, have an impact as well. For example:
  • Younger male commuters are more likely to bike and walk
  • Females in their thirties and forties are more likely to drive alone
  • Transit use increases in older commuters
  • 30 percent of commuters who have a commute length of five miles or less drive alone, despite having more options than those with longer-distance commutes. These short-distance commuters are also more likely to walk and bike to work
Contact Confluence Denver Development News Editor Margaret Jackson with tips and leads for future stories at margaret@confluence-denver.com.

Read more articles by Margaret Jackson.

Margaret is a veteran Denver real estate reporter and can be contacted here.
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