• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 643 other subscribers

Credit; City of Rochester

Credit; City of Rochester


Recently-released census data shows some small changes in commuting over time.

There were more people driving alone to work in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 82 percent of workers – 283,062 people – drove alone to work. That compares to 80 percent in 2013, or 280,819 people. This is interesting because we’re spending $100 million to revamp the Rochester-Brighton-Henrietta 390 corridor, even though there do not appear to be more cars on the road.

Carpooling was more popular in 2000 than 2013. In 2000, 8.4 percent of workers. In 2013, 7.8 percent shared rides to work. But carpooling was only at 7 percent in 2006, so perhaps it’s picking up speed.

Commute times are the same. In 2000, the average commute was 19.6 minutes. In 2013, the average commute was 19.7 minutes.

Credit: City of Rochester

Credit: City of Rochester

More people are taking the bus to work. In 2000, 2.7 percent of workers took public transportation. In 2013, 3.4 percent of workers – nearly 12,000 people – took the bus to work.

More people are walking to work. In 2000, 3.4 percent of people walked to work. In 2013, 3.8 percent of people – more than 13,000 – got to work on two legs.

More people are biking to work. The number of people who bike to work is at a paltry .4 percent. But that’s 1,544 people riding their bicycles to work, up from 1,099 in 2006. Nearly half live in the city. (Before you question bike lanes, consider the fact many more people ride purely for recreation and exercise.)

More people work at home. In 2000, 2.7 percent of people worked at home. In 2013, 3.4 percent – nearly 12,000 people – work at home.

In our car-centric city, it’s worth noting that 1 in 8 people gets to work by walking, biking or riding the bus. That means more than 26,000 people will likely have to cross the road in front of your car and share the road with your car. Let’s be sure to watch out for them.

Update: Some are asking whether the workforce was bigger in 2000. According to the census, there were 345,019 people 16 and over commuting to work in 2000, compared to 349,802 in 2013.


Links of the Day:


– Throwing money at developers doesn’t create new business. It moves business around. Here’s a good Rochester example.

– American sports franchises are selling their cities short. Stadiums are not good investments!

– Wow. Cuomo and Hochul spent $5.9 million on the primary.

– A University of Wisconsin fraternity is suspected of drugging women at a party.

– This essay from New York Times columnist Charles Blow about sexual abuse, sexuality and learning to love himself is painfully honest and quite beautiful.


Help Fight Poverty:


Women's Foundation logoIf you like my blog posts, we can chat about them in person! Consider joining my team on October 26 for the Women’s Foundation of Genesee Valley 5k and Walk. Donations of any amount – no matter how small – would also be appreciated. I am the honorary chair of this event. The Women’s Foundation helps women and girls become economically self-sufficient. It’s a great organization that deserves more attention for its important work in Rochester.

20 Responses to Our Commute

  1. Thanks for some great information Rachel. As someone who occasionally rides their bike to work, I especially appreciate your last comment to motorists to be alert and courteous as they are sharing the roadways with pedestrians, bus riders and cyclists.

  2. September 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm Elmer, the downtown worker responds:

    I’m all for sharing the road with pedestrians, but the pedestrians also need to share the road with me. It’s a rare day when I drive downtown that somebody doesn’t cross the road against the light, text while walking across the road in the middle of the block with lots of cars moving in both directions, or decide that they can run faster than Carl Lewis, and start crossing 4 lanes of traffic with only 2 seconds left on the walk/don’t walk sign.

  3. September 23, 2014 at 1:46 am Robin Salsbury responds:

    If you also consider that many drivers have to get from the car to the work location sometimes by crossing the street or walking a block or two, that means that there are even more pedestrians than the statistics show. After being a pedestrian, a bicyclist, an occasional bus rider and a driver I can attest to the notion that the Rochester drivers have a lot to learn about being courteous to cyclists and pedestrians. And on a final note, I find it interesting that inspite of the increase in bus ridership, RTS has decided it appropriate to reduce thee number of bus stops by over 25 percent which I imagine also reduces the number of bus routes. One of the reasons that I did not ride the bus more often is that it would take so long and a round about route to get to where I needed to go that it was impractical. I can’t imagine reducing the routes would improve on that.

  4. Infinitesimal changes overall, so small most statisticians and survey organizations would be cautious at calling these changes a new trend. Stop work on 390 because there are less cars reflected by not many more commuters going to “WORK”? How about commuting to school? Clearly when one looks at the parking lots of area colleges that change may not be reflected. And the traffic jams now start at around 3PM vs the traditional rush hour at 5PM. One assumes this reflects the large number of Education based work.

    I bike and I drive… I see far more..again FAR MORE inconsiderate bikers .. who don’t move over to a side of the lane for cars to pass, especially on hills, or who run red lights..than I see inconsiderate motorists while I bike.

  5. September 23, 2014 at 1:48 pm Shaun Jeffers responds:

    These are very interesting stats. I would love to see one particular statistic if possible. The ability to know how many people in certain areas or employers have shifted in relation to the location of where those employers must travel. If I had to guess 2000 the majority of the employees were likely going to Kodak, Xerox, Bausch & Lomb etc. Now the biggest employer is the University of Rochester. Also be interested to see enrollment sizes for students at MCC, RIT, and U of R because the commute has definitely become worse over this period of time from 2000 to 2013. The majority of everyone from the biggest employer to students are trying to commute to work/class all between the hours of 7-9AM. As well as leaving between 3:30-5:00PM. Its the volume at the time from a certain location that is the issue in my humble opinion.

  6. Robin, I’m not defending the bus company, but they aren’t reducing routes. They’re proposing to eliminate redundant bus stops. There’s a big difference. Reducing the number of times a bus has to stop to pick up and drop off passengers will likely reduce your trip time – if done correctly.

    But it’s important for us to have input into that selection of which stops get removed and which ones stay. About 79% of the stops in the city will stay. But nearly 50% of suburban stops are on the chopping block. If you ride to or from the burbs, you will want to check this list…

    And then give RTS your thoughts…
    Monroe@myRTS.com, or call 288-1700

    And yes… everyone is a pedestrian at some point during their trip!

    • September 24, 2014 at 12:44 pm PJ Birkman responds:

      Since you’re the expert on transit issues here – will it reduce trip time or merely cancel out the added few minutes from the new transit center? And do you have any idea why there seems to be very few(no?) stops in the move column? It seems to me there are a number of stops that could be combined closer to intersections to make it easier and safer to cross the street and be convenient to multiple businesses/services.

      • I just double checked the figures from RTS and I realize I misquoted in my previous comment… They’re not removing 50% of the suburban stops… It’s 26% in the city and about the same percentage in the suburbs. I just wanted to clear that up.

        Will removing stops really reduce your trip time? That depends on where your trip starts and ends. If you don’t need to transfer to a second bus you may very well have somewhat of a quicker trip. If you transfer downtown, the layover time could be the determining factor. A lot of it will depend on the new schedules; which I don’t think RTS has released yet.

        Just to be clear, RTS isn’t explicitly saying that removing bus stops WILL make trips shorter. What they’ve been saying is that these type of adjustments have improved travel time in other systems around the country. The proof will be in the pudding.

  7. September 23, 2014 at 3:31 pm Adrian Martin responds:

    @Robin Salsbury – I’m pretty anti-RTS as I think their service stinks, but I’m very much in favor of reducing the # of stops. It takes forever to get anywhere on their buses because they’re stoppping every 10 seconds at every block.

  8. An Inconsiderate biker is also a great danger, not to just him/her self but to to all on the road as well. If you think not, your bias against drivers and cars, has blinded you to logic.

    If they create a situation where a driver is faced with an unneeded decision, forced a driver take a chance and pass in a dangerous spot… lots of people can get hurt or worse. And presented with that decision… some driver somewhere, will undoubtedly make the wrong decision. So thats not the “foolish’ bicyclist’s fault as well? THey have NO responsibility on causing that accident?

    There are 1000s of scenarios where the bicyclist creates a danger for more than just themselves.

    • A driver is never “forced” to pass a cyclist unless their brakes have failed.

      • They are “forced to pass”, or wait another 5 seconds for an opening. Bikes aren’t “forcing” cars to do anything unless they feel they absolutely need to go at full speed up to a stop light.
        I ride to work every day, and I can ride from Mt. Hope to Monroe Ave via Gregory-Meigs, and I am next to the same car at every stop light even though they felt the need to pass me as quickly as possible. Cars, just be patient and everybody wins.

  9. Well gee. Why don’t we all drive 4 miles an hour and nobody would get killed in car accidents.

    No drivers who can’t wait 40 seconds to pass… and then the driver behind them and then the next one? After a while its a traffic jam caused by one biker…. who has rights ya know.

    I pull a trailer quite often .. on busy two lane roads… I see a car behind me and I PULL OVER ..whats the big DEAL? Let them pass.

    IF the driver doesn’t want to pull out in the other lane and pass a biker… OR CAN”T wait behind YOU .. >>.. WHY don’t YOU PULL OVER? Have you ever ..to let the car pass? I have yet to see a biker to that.

    How is it that Driver that makes a risky pass of the biker is impatient.. but the biker who is FORCING the issue and won’t stop and pull over is NOT BEING Impatient? Hows that work?

    Yes and I am sure some cars in the AM traffic make no better time traveling than a bike. “SOMETIMES”. But the far and away majority of the time the car will beat the bike especially if they can just get by you and through the next light.

    And if the biker wants the cars to wait behind them as they travel along the road where there is no room to pass.. I would then expect the biker to get in line at the light and stop sign behind the cars ahead of the biker .. no we NEVER see that.

    Like it or not CARs do own the road. Without the car there would be no road. Instead of thinking your “entitled” to hold up some one.. or your “rights” are the same as theirs…why not do the kind thing and pull over/ stop or make room? God Forbid a biker would ever do that.

    • September 24, 2014 at 2:59 pm Adrian Martin responds:

      Orielly, the law says you’re wrong. Cars do not own the road. Cars share road ownership with everyone else who uses it. NYS VTL article 34 section 1231:

      S 1231. Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles or skating or gliding on in-line skates. Every person riding a bicycle or skating or gliding on in-line skates upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this title, except as to special regulations in this article and except as to those provisions of this title which by their nature can have no application.

      It’s nice that you pull your trailer over to allow people to pass. It’s actually quite a bit easier to pass a bicycle than it is to pass a pickup truck pulling a trailer. In fact I’m guessing passing a bicycle is about as easy as passing a stopped trailer on the side of the road. In both cases you don’t need to cross fully into the oncoming lane of traffic; and the length of roadway you need to pass a stopped truck/trailer is about the length of roadway you need to pass a bicycle going 20mph.

  10. Yea I know what the law says.. but my point is that there would not be anywhere’s near as many roads if there weren’t cars. And Cars are bigger and heavier etc so the law is one thing and reality is another.

    You or “one” doesn’t need to cross fully into the oncoming lane to pass a bicycle.. true/// SO do you want cars playing the game of how close can I come to the bike while I pass it? Or if just 10% of my car is in the on-coming lane ..is that more safe then the entire car? One hits completely head on and one just 10% of the car hits head on. I suppose survivability is lessened to some extent… but who wants to play that game?

    When I come across a biker or runner and I can see no cars coming in the passing lane for quite a while .. I have no problem pulling into the oncoming lane and giving them a ton of room. I think they call it courtesy.

    But when its tight on an uphill in traffic it would be nice to have the bike aware of where they are and trying to improve things by pulling off to the side of the road vs staying where they are a outwardly making it a bikers rights issue /demonstration.

    Again… wouldn’t it be nice if the biker pulled over as opposed to trying to FORCE a who’s right issue in a potentially dangerous situation?

    • Orielly, the best place for that cyclist to be is out in the center of lane where he/she can be seen. As Adrian already pointed out, the full lane is to be shared by all vehicles, not just cars. Cyclists are legally right to use the full lane.

      The shoulder is not always clear of debris, and unsafe to cycle on …and a lot of 4-lane roads in Rochester don’t even have shoulders.

      Also important to note, TAXPAYERS carry the bulk of the load when it comes to paying for our roads, not cars. My taxes, your taxes, and that cyclists taxes. Most road spending is subsidized with general revenues. If more of us biked we’d save ourselves a ton of money on road maintenance alone.

      Besides the point, would it really hurt you to wait 10 seconds until you have the clearance to pass the bike?

      We’ll all get to our destinations. If we relax and take a breath we’ll get there much happier.

  11. Drivers are all supposed to wait for ONE BIKER .. The one BIKER should not pull over so 20 or 2 cars can pass safely and be on their way. Is that correct?

    And of course in these examples its always a 10 or 20 second wait example to pass the bike… unless you’re the 20th car behind the biker as someone does not want to pass. Or there are lots of cars in the on-coming lane and you don’t want to take the chance .. the risk of the pass. These things happen every day. Does the biker pull over? Rarely.

    IF its a minute or 10 minutes… no time– MY TIME, does not matter in the eyes of the “Righteous” biker, who after all have the right, the entitlement… to delay me, any and all motorists because after all they are bikers and we bikers have rights.

    When I am in the left lane on the expressway I move briskly. And if a car gets behind me …I move over. I don’t say I am going 55 and all other cars can move to other lanes to drive around me.

    There are “rights” and there is safety (for all who use the road) and there is curtesy for all who use the road. Fundamental in that concept is that slower vehicles let faster vehicles go by them and even make way for the faster vehicles.

    These are basic rules of the road .. that Bikers apparently feel they don’t have to follow because after all they have rights.

    Don’t then ever complain about a senior citizen going 15MPH in a 40 when you get behind them. After all “they” too have rights.

    There are laws regarding going unreasonably slow in traffic.. using up the left lane and going 40 on the express way etc. These rules and minimum speed requirements should be enforceable for bikers driving in the middle of the road in a lane going 12 MPH on a road with a 40MPH speed limit.

    But hey who cares about any of this because after all …we bikers have rights ya know.

    • I’m not saying the bike shouldn’t move over when it’s safe to do so. But I’m also saying you need to relax when you’re behind the wheel. If you’re running late for work, you should have left the house a little earlier.

      And quite frankly, I don’t complain about slow senior citizens. I buck up and go around them. If passing isn’t an option, I step off the gas and enjoy the ride. As I said, you’ll get to your destination. Life is too short to whine about the person in front of me.

  12. Thats right I need to relax, I should have left the house earlier. I’m late because its my fault.

    And how do I know this? Because a biker who doesnt know me can pass judgements on me. They know all about my day, my life, where I’ve come from, where I’m going to. And they are therefore justified and entitled to pass judgements on me and take up my time and delay me if they want.

    All are equal, just some are more equal than others. I think we’ve pretty much got to the bottom, the root core of this issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *