Transportation Choices

Neutral from
2014 to 2015

How are we doing?

Transportation choices received a neutral rating because the estimated percentage of San Diegan workers who drove to work alone stayed nearly the same from 2014 to 2015, the two most recent years of available data, remaining at roughly 76%. Worker public transit ridership increased by 0.8% while the percentage of workers reporting carpooling, bicycling and walking decreased slightly. The total percent of workers using alternative means of transportation is around 24%. Compared to other regions, San Diego has a low percentage of bicycle and public transit commuters. See more information.

The number of San Diegans who drove to work alone remained high at 76.3% in 2015, increasing slightly from 76.1% in 2014. Public transit increased by 0.8% while carpooling, bicycling and walking decreased slightly.

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2016

Why is it important?

  • Replacing vehicle trips with bicycling improves San Diego’s air quality and decreases greenhouse gas emissions.
  • More regional smart growth strategies that bring jobs, residential developments and transit centers close to each other will help support walking and public transit.

The percentage of San Diego County workers who bike to work is lower than most other major urban counties in California. Unfortunately, the number of bicycle commuters decreased by 0.2% from 2014 to 2015.

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2016

San Diego County workers' public transit use was 3.5% in 2015 which is low compared to San Francisco and Los Angeles. However, ridership was up by 0.8% from 2014 to 2015.

Data Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, 2016

  Idea for Change

Policymakers should look to increase transit service to provide reliable and efficient alternatives to driving a single-occupancy vehicle. Planned transit developments, such as bus rapid transit improvements in the South Bay and I-15 corridors and the mid-coast trolley extension should help, but efforts must be made to connect new routes more closely with prime destinations and to ensure service is speedy and reliable. Improvements to the transit riding experience, such as ticketless riding apps and stored-value capabilities, will make it more convenient for people to choose transit over other modes. 

  Bright Spot

San Diegans increasingly are taking advantage of alternative transportation options. In 2016, Rapid bus network ridership numbers were up and Bike to Work Day participation grew. SANDAG’s 2050 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP) lays out plans to invest an estimated $214 billion in local, state and federal transportation projects. One of the plans in the RTP is the Mid-Coast Mobility Hub Implementation Strategy, which will provide trolley service from the international border to the University City community. The new service will improve access to growing employment, education and residential areas surrounding nine new light rail stations.

  What are we measuring?

We measure transportation choices by tracking the percent of workers 16 years and over that commute via bike, public transit or other modes of alternative transportation, as well as comparing these proportions to other major urban counties. Learn more about the data.