Driving Alone to Work

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Percentage of the workforce that drives alone to work. The 2024 Annual Data Release used data from 2018-2022 for this measure.

The transportation choices that communities and individuals make have important impacts on health through pathways such as active living, air quality, and traffic crashes. The options 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 (BMI) 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 a significantly higher body fat percentage than mixed-methods 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

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Data and methods

Data Source

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. We use American Community Survey data for measures of social and economic factors.

Website to download data
For more detailed methodological information

Key Measure Methods

Driving Alone to Work is a percentage

Driving Alone to Work is the percentage of the workforce who usually drive alone to work.

Caution should be used when comparing these estimates across years

Caution should be used when comparing data across years as data comes from overlapping 5-year spans. Additionally, margins of error for 5-year estimates containing data collected in 2020 increased compared to prior 5-year estimates. For more information about data comparability please visit Comparing 2022 American Community Survey Data.


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 Health Snapshots is a five-year average. However, for counties with a population greater than 20,000 individuals, single-year estimates can be obtained from the resource 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:

  • Age
  • Race
  • Subcounty Area

This estimate for Driving Alone to Work comes from census data on means of transportation to work by age and race categories. This measure can also be calculated for census tracts and census block groups


1 Andersen LB. Active commuting: An easy and effective way to improve health. Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology. 2016;4(5):381-382.

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):420-435.

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;30:782-786.

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