Most residents in the CONNECT Beyond region drive alone in private vehicles for their daily work commute. Recent statistics show commuters in the Charlotte area spent 50.6 million hours waiting in traffic in one year alone.
From the CONNECT Our Future Project and the Regional Transit Engagement Series, we learned that transportation choices emerged as a top priority for residents and leaders in the CONNECT Beyond region. Transportation choices describe the variety of options available to residents and visitors in a region. These transportation choices could include driving a private automobile, taking public transportation, riding a bike, carpooling, taking a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or walking. Currently, there are limited transportation choices available to area residents and visitors, and many overwhelmingly choose to drive a private vehicle for their transportation needs.
To improve transportation choices in our region, we need to extend and enhance our multi-modal transit system and prioritize building pedestrian and bicycle amenities in our communities. Investing in our transportation options rather than just highways and roads means expanding choices.
The Current Commute
The individual mobility choices that people make influence their lives and the CONNECT Beyond region as a whole. In 2016, the national average for household transportation was $8,775 per year, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics.
Limited Transit Access
According to the Center for Neighborhood Technology, the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia region is a very car dependent region with limited access to public transportation. The region is especially car-dependent when it comes to commuting to work. The UNC Charlotte Urban Institute estimates that between 77.5% and 87.9% of commuters in the CONNECT Beyond region drive alone in private automobiles to work.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology found that the average household in the Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia region drives about 22,673 miles and spends about $13,241 annually on transportation per year. Surprisingly, the Center also found that while the average household in the region drives about 22,673 miles per year, those same households are likely to only take about 27 transit trips per year and spend about $29 annually on transit.
The Center for Neighborhood Technology gave the region an “All Transit Performance Score” of 1.9 (1 to 10 scale) and a 4.6 score for “Job Access”.
According to the 2019 Urban Mobility Report, Charlotte-area commuters spent about 50.6 million hours waiting in traffic in 2017. This means that the average Charlotte-area commuter spends spent about 57 hours sitting in traffic in 2017. The 2019 Urban Mobility Report also found that in 2017 traffic congestion cost the average Charlotte area commuter about $1,269.00 and collectively cost all Charlotte-area commuters about $1 Billion.
The 2019 Urban Mobility Report also found that traffic congestion in the region is not only wasting commuters’ time and money, but it is also wasting a lot of automobile fuel. In 2017, traffic congestion in the Charlotte area caused about 17,213 gallons of fuel to be wasted, which equates to about 22 gallons of wasted fuel per individual commuter.