Theme: Spreading Out
Greater dependence on cars has placed a greater travel cost burden on many Northeast Ohio residents.
Greater automobile use also contributes to air pollution and increases the wear and tear on Northeast Ohio’s transportation infrastructure.
Percentage of Driving Alone by County
Tendency to Drive Alone
The spreading out of Northeast Ohio’s population has occurred in tandem with an increase in lower density development. The options for meeting the transit needs of residents from areas of low-density development are different from residents from high-density areas. Public transit is most effective and efficient when serving high-density areas. Transit in low-density areas requires more routes to reach fewer riders. As a result, lower density development leads to an increased dependence on private automobiles.
As this table shows, the majority of the region drives alone to work. Single-occupant personal vehicles are the primary form of travel in Northeast Ohio and they cause congestion, especially during rush hours and along heavily traveled corridors, such as I-76, I-77, I-271, and I-480. Commute time to work on average has increased.
Northeast Ohio’s trend toward an increasingly suburban population is expected to continue. If it does, so will the trend in increased single-occupancy driving and in vehicle miles traveled.
Vehicle Miles Traveled in Northeast Ohio
Daily Vehicle Miles Traveled, 2000-2010
These maps show by county how the daily vehicle miles traveled (DVMT) by Northeast Ohio’s residents have changed from 2000 to 2010.
DVMT increased sufficiently to move four counties – Medina, Wayne, Summit, and Stark counties – into higher categories of miles.
In 2000, only Cuyahoga County experienced more than 15 million daily vehicle miles traveled.
By 2010, Summit County had joined Cuyahoga County in the highest category of DVMT.
Only Geauga and Ashtabula counties maintained their position in the lowest category of DVMT from 2000 to 2010.
This table shows the millions of vehicle miles traveled by residents of Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties in 2010.
Northeast Ohio Households with No Vehicles
The majority of trips to work in Northeast Ohio are made by people driving alone. Not all households, however, have that option.
This map shows the percentage and distribution of households in Northeast Ohio with no access to vehicles.
Commuters with higher household income are more inclined to drive alone and tend to drive to transit stations when they choose to access transit.
Lower income households usually have no other choice than to travel by public transit and are forced to walk to transit stations.
Bicycle Trails in Northeast Ohio
- Bicycle lane-miles have increased throughout Northeast Ohio.
- Multi-use bicycle paths have increased by 280 percent.
- Bicycle transportation maps are available for a majority of Northeast Ohio’s counties.
- Buses now sport bicycle racks to facilitate bicycle/bus commuting.