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Travel behavior by Blacks in the United States


Material Information

Travel behavior by Blacks in the United States analysis of the Nationwide Personal Transportation Study
Physical Description:
13 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Hill, Eric T
University of South Florida -- Center for Urban Transportation Research
University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
African Americans -- Transportation -- United States   ( lcsh )
local government publication   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )


Additional Physical Form:
Also issued online.
Statement of Responsibility:
Eric T. Hill.
General Note:
"Testimony before the Second Congressional Black Caucus Transportation Braintrust September 1994."

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University of South Florida Library
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University of South Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 025512843
oclc - 666937687
usfldc doi - C01-00267
usfldc handle - c1.267
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Travel behavior by Blacks in the United States :
analysis of the Nationwide Personal Transportation Study /
Eric T. Hill.
[Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida, Center for Urban Transportation Research,
13 leaves :
ill. ;
28 cm.
"Testimony before the Second Congressional Black Caucus Transportation Braintrust September 1994."
Also issued online.
African Americans
x Transportation
z United States.
2 710
University of South Florida.
Center for Urban Transportation Research.
t Center for Urban Transportation Research Publications [USF].
4 856


Travel Behavior by Blacks in the United States: Analysis of The Nationwide Persomil Transportation Study Testimony before the Second Congressional Black Caucus Transportation Braintrust September 1994


Travel Behavior by Blacks in the United States: Analysis of The Nationwide Personal Transportation Study1 Testimony before the Second Congressional Black Caucus Transportation Braintrust September 1994 Eric T / Hill Research; Associate Center for Urban Transportation.Research (CUTR) Mr. Hill received both his Bachelor of Science and Master of Public Policy degrees from Rutgers University: He has been employed in the transportation industry since 1984. Mr. Hill has been a research.associate at CUTR since 1991. Prior to joining-CUTR, Mr. Hill worked for a transit agency and transportation authority in N ew Jersey. He.has c extensive transit operation and servic e planning, public policy, and research experience. Mr, Hill's primary research at CUTR expands on his knowledge of transportation and includes Intelligent Transportation System applications for transit, dev eloping transit altematiyes to traffic congestion, privatization of transit services, analysis of transit service efficiency and stat istical analysis of travel behavior data 'The tum "Black" in this writing is used instead of its polltlcqlly correct synonym Black is descriptive, but also i t is a political and c ultural term that JdtmtJflcs people of descent at a world level. Additionally, It is used to identify a minority population in tllis country and to describe and analyze travel behavior by that group. As such, it encompasses the eniiJ:e population of A merican society that has African culture os part of thei r heritage. and do not wish to be counted as a nonminority, Asian, Hispanic, Indian, or as a member of another minority population of color.


The Nationwide. Personal Transportation Study (NPTS) compiles national data on the nature and characteristics of traveL It addresses a broad range of travel in the United States, providing data on all personal trips by all pUipOses and all modes of transportation. When the 1990 study is used in conjunction with previous NPTS studies, it is possible to track; over time, both th. e level of travel and the characteristics that contribute t o 1hat traver for the entire nation. NPTS data may be used to describe current travel patterns and, given projections of demographic change, it is a valuable trend llJ1alysis tool to forecast future travel demand. In this regard, NPTS data can be used to research certain ethnic groups in our society, including Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians. The analysis of travel characteristics of Blacks in the U.S. revealed that the four indicators of travel (vehicle trip, vehicle miles of travel, person trip, and person miles of travel) increased between 1983 and 1990. The following indicalors are included in this analysis Person Trip. (PT): A trip by one person in any mode of transportation. Person Miles of Travel (PMT): The number of miles traveled by one person on a trip When a person travels one mile, one person mile of travel results Vehicle Trip (VT): A trip by a single vehicle reg87dless of the number of persons in the vehicle. Vehicle Miles of Travel (VMT): A unit to measure travel distance by a private vehicle, s uch as an automobile, van, pickup truck, or motorcycle. Before this analysis was conducted, several assumptions that have been deve loped by planners, policy-makers, and decision-makers in the transportation industry concerning the travel behavior shown by _Blacks were reviewed Some of these assumptions included: Societal and demographic changes have caused travel behavior for Blacks to become more like trip-making by middle-class Whites (Non -B lacks). Since Blacks are over-represented in urban areas (approximate l y 79 percent of Blacks in America live in urban areas), they use transit at liigher rates than Non-Blacks. Major trip attractors, i e., jobs, activity centers; health services, etc. are typically located outside most Black communities in the suburbs, requiring longer trip lengths. As Blacks enter the job. market, il\crease their income, and obtain driver licenses, they drive more and use the car for more of their trips, a pattern similar to that exhibited by whites in the workforce. 3


B 'ecailse Blacks are the dominant users of p u blic transit, their trips are expected to take longer than trips by Non Blacks. Because they often cannot afford t o own and operate automobiles, low-income households (comprised disproportionately of Blacks) travel much less than the general population. The increasing Black population, growth in travel, th e notion that many Blacks ar e dependent upon transit for transportation; and the other assumptions about the travel behavior of B lacks merit an analysis of this gi:oup'sJravel behavior and patterns. A study on this topic also provides valuable informa t ion on a growing segment of the popula t ion that is dependent on this public servtce. Trends in Black Trave l The four indi cators of travel show that total travel for B lacks has in creased during the past decade These changes are depicted i n Figures I thru 4 for PT, PMT, VT, and VMT data show. that between 1983. and 1990 vehicle trips increased 56.9 percent, vehicle miles of trave l i ncreased 75.1 percent person trips increased 27 percent, and person miles of travel increased 37 percent These changes show : significant' increases in a short time. NPTS data reveal that trip rates for Blacks also have increased faster than for These changes are also presented in Figure 5. It is generally inferred that having a driver's license increases trip-making There was also sigilificant growth in the number of Black licensed dri vers d uring the past decade. The results of this analysis are presented in Figure 6. This analysis shows that the number of Blacks becoming licensed to drive increased by 27 .9 percent from 1983 to 1990, supporting an increasing demand for travel. using privately owned vehicles The rate at which Blacks become licensed to drive SUfPliSSed that of Non-Blacks for the same period, but the grov.ih rate of vehicles in Black households lagged behind that for No n-Blacks As previously mention e d, it is generally assumed that Blacks use transit at higher rates than Non Blacks. For example, a 1992 survey of transi t ridership showed that nationally Blacks represent the largest share of transit riders (30.8%).2 Data presented on distribution of person trips by mode, however, confirm Blacks' increased use of privately owned vehi cles for travel. These data are shown in Figure 7. For Blacks; : tli.e. data that private vehicles are the principl!l mode of travel. In i 983; approximately 68' perceht 'cif Black p e rson trips were made using: this mode. This increased to approximate l y 74 percent in 1990. 'American Public Transit (APT A), SpeciaiRPport Americwu in Transit: A Profile of Public Transit Passengers, (APTA, 1992), /, 4


Figure 1 Person Trips l l Daily PT(OOO) Total Blacks 1983 224,459 18,781 205,678 1990 249,562 23,852 225,7 1 0 Percent Change in. Person Trips 19831990 2 7 % Total CUTR


Figure.2 Person Miles of Daily PMT (000) 1983 1990 Total 1 ,94 7,481 2,315,273 .. .... Blacks 127,324 174,417 Non-Blacks. 1,820,158 2,140,856 Percent Change . irr :Person Miles of Travel 1983-1990 37% Total f


Figure 3 Total Blacks Vehicle Trips VT (000) 1983 1990 Total 126,910 158,927 Blacks 7,799 12,233 Non-Blacks 119,111 146,694 Percent Change in Vehicle Trips 19831990 CUTR


FigureA Vehicle Miles of Travel VMT (000) 1990 Total 1,002,518 1,409,576 Blacks 53,535 93,751 Non-Blacks 948,984 1,315,825 Percent in Vehicle Miles of Travel 1983-1990 60% CUTR


Figure 5 Comparison of Blacks and Blacks Trip Rates for Selected Variables Person Trip Rates D 1983 3.ol'---' 2.0 1.0 0.0 L.l--..::. Blacks D 1990 2.0 1'----' 1 5 1.0 0.5 Vehicle Trip Rates 0.0 L..L---,,C Bl>cks 20.0 1 0 0 0 Perso n Miles of Rates Vehicle Miles of Travel CUTR


Figure 6 Number of..Blacks_Licensed to Drive and Household Vehicle s D 1 9 S l ; 1990 % o f Eligible B lacks Vehicle_ Avilli bilicy Househo ld Vehicles Figure 7 (000) Distribution of Person Trips for Blacks by Mode D t983 1----------------i 90% 1 1990 CUTR


Othe r findhigs in this research effort include: Blacks in the 30-39 age ca:tegory had the highest average daily travel indic a tors in 1990 except for person miles of travel. Average trave l for B la cks in this age cohort also exceeds the aggregate for N o n Blacks except for person miles of travel. Black fem ales showed a signi fic ant increase in travel. Except for average vehi c le miles of travel B lack females outpaced Black males in trave l changes for the remaining average travel indi ca tors. The greatest. change in travel behav ior for Black females is in average vehicle trips, which increased f,y approximately 58 percent between 1983 and 1990. Except for perso n miles of travel, in 1990, B la cks in bouse holds with incomes of $70,000-79;000 had the highest average da il y travel indicators. Average travel for Blacks in th i s category was greater than the aggreg a te for Non-Blacks Average daily travel indicators increased between 1983 and 1990 for B lack s living in all geographic l ocations, i.e. outside central city within central city, and not within Me tro p o litan Statistical Area. The re was a consistent increase in a ll average daily travel ind i cators for Blacks living in the central city. I n terestingly, from 1983 to 1990, for non-working Blacks, average person trips, vehicle trips, and vehi cle miles of travel increased by 10, 65, and 81 percent, respe c tively. Blacks traveled at higher rate s as household vehicles becam e mo r e available Except for average vehicle miles of travel, in 1990, Blacks in h ouseholds with five or more vehic les s h ow e d decreasing trave l for the remaining a verage trave l ind icat o rs. Average person miles of travel and average vehicle m ile s of tra v el for Black s in the J ifecycle category "two adult s with children in the 16-21 age cat egory" showed si gnificant incr e ases for 1983 to 1990. In 1983 and 1990, trips t o/from work represented the largest percentage of trips for Blacks. Trips invo lv in g family or personal business increased approximately 57 percent during this period. In 1983, approximate ly 6 4 percent of Black person trips were less than 20 minutes. The percent o{ perso n trip s Jess than 20 minutes in 1990 was approxi!na tel y 66 percent. This suggests that travel times for B lac k s are becoming shorter Implicat i ons This ana l y s is provides some answers to questions about travel behav ior by Blacks, but raises other questions. For examp l e, what truly has caused the dramatic in crease in trave l by Black s ? Does 11


the increase in the Black population, employment and wealth provide accurate answers? Can suburbanization and : changing land.use patterns, urban decay, and the increase of Black females in the workforce provide : some insights? Can changes in the amount of travel and mode choice for Blacks be explained by changes in factors such as household income and labor force participation? While it is easy for one to suggest further research into the reasons for increased travel by Blacks, the implications for society as a whole, and specifically the Black community, should be considered For example, increased dependence on the automobile and declining public transportation patronage are the by-products of dispersed metropolitan development which, in tum, is partly a result of fede ral transportation policies. The analysis of travel by Blacks corroborates the effects of this type of policy making. If the Black population growth rate and the travel. behavior trends continue, then continued broad effects on mode choice sing l e occupancy vehicle use, and land use can be expected. Will the changes in travel behavior by Blacks translate into a need for mpre transportation capacity and resources to Black communities? What effect will the changes in Black !favel behavior have on transit; which relies on Blacks for 30 percent of total ridership? What affects will the proposed Na tional Highway System (NHS) which was approved by the House of Representatives by an overwhelming margin and is now before the Senate, have on Black communities? As the data reveal, the increasing growth in demand for t rav el by Blacks suggests needed funding f or transit, roadway, and infrastructure improvemen ts serving Black communities. Greater access t o employment opportun i ties and services within the Black commmuty, or from these communities to s u burban locations, is needed in order for this community to prosper economically and socially. Can, should, or will th e increased mobility of Blacks translate into Blacks having a larger role in transportation planning and decision-making? Based on rapid growth and changes in B lac k travel behavior, Blacks should receive greater coru;ideration in the transportation planning process. A requirement of the Intermodal Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) mandates increased community participation in develop ing tranSportation systems . Thus, policy makers and plarmers at the state and local levels and in Metropolitan Planning Organizations need to giv.e.greater attention to travel demands of Blacks, since theY: represent: a:: changing ; and: increasing market. This growing market also supports t?e for increased diversity in the composition of decision-makers in the transportation arena. Data from the 1983 and 1990 NPTS databases suggest that travel by Blacks has changed rapidly over the recent past and is increasingly similarly to t ravel behavior by Non-Blacks. The implications are sig)liticant in many areas ranging from economic impacts to quality of life issues. The causes at least partial ly are by economic and demographic changes in the B l ack 12 :


commW1ity. Therefore; transportation officials at the federal, state, and local levels should consider the implications o f future policies and plans on Blacks and include this po p u latio n when developing transportation systems T h e changes merit contioued close observa tion of Black travel behavior and needs. 13