Driving Alone to Work
Percentage of the workforce that drives alone to work. The 2023 County Health Rankings used data from 2017-2021 for this measure.
The transportation choices that communities and individuals make have important impacts on health through items such as active living, air quality, and traffic crashes. The choices for commuting to work can include walking, biking, taking public transit, carpooling, or individuals driving alone, the last of which is the most damaging to the health of communities. In most counties, driving alone is also the primary form of transportation to work. Walking and mixed-methods commuting are associated with lower body mass index than commuting by car. Choice of commuting method is dependent upon many factors which are influenced by the physical environment and individual safety concerns.1 Car-only commuters have significantly higher body fat percentage than mixed and active commuters.2 People who drive to work are less likely to reach recommended activity levels than people who use other forms of transportation.3
Data and methods
American Community Survey, 5-year estimates
The American Community Survey (ACS) is a nationwide survey designed to provide communities with a fresh look at how they are changing. It is a critical element in the Census Bureau's reengineered decennial census program. The ACS collects and produces population and housing information every year instead of every ten years, and publishes both one-year and five-year estimates. The County Health Rankings use American Community Survey data to obtain measures of social and economic factors.
Key Measure Methods
Driving Alone to Work is a percentage
Driving Alone to Work is the percentage of the workforce that usually drives alone to work.
The numerator is the number of workers who commute alone to work via car, truck, or van.
The denominator is the total workforce.
Can This Measure Be Used to Track Progress
This measure can be used to track progress with some caveats. It is important to note that the estimate provided in the County Health Rankings is a 5-year average. However, for counties with a population greater than 20,000 individuals, single-year estimates can be obtained from the resource listed below.
Finding More Data
Disaggregation means breaking data down into smaller, meaningful subgroups. Disaggregated data are often broken down by characteristics of people or where they live. Disaggregated data can reveal inequalities that are otherwise hidden. These data can be disaggregated by:
- Subcounty Area
This estimate can be calculated by race using tables B08105A-G and by age in table B08101. These tables can be accessed through https://data.census.gov/. This measure can also be calculated for census tracts and census block groups using table B08301.
1 Andersen LB. Active Commuting: an easy and effective way to improve health. Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. 2016; 4(5):381-82.
2 Flint E, Cummins S. Active commuting and obesity in mid-life: cross-sectional observational evidence from UK BioBank. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology. 2016; 4(5):420-35.
3 Wen LM, Orr C, Millett C, Rissel C. Driving to work and overweight and obesity: findings from the 2003 New South Wales Health Survey, Australia. International Journal of Obesity. 2006; 30:782-86.