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December 17, 2018 @ 10:58am EST

West Piedmont Planning District Means of Transportation to Work, 2010 and 2017

In addition to population counts and trends, the U.S. Census Bureau compiles workers’ means of transportation to work.  RIDE Solutions staff wanted to compare the way residents of the West Piedmont Planning District – comprising the counties of Franklin, Henry, Patrick, and Pittsylvania and the cities of Danville and Martinsville – traveled to work in 2010 and 2017.  To accomplish this, staff analyzed data from both the 2006 – 2010 and 2013 – 2017 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS) five-year estimate data.  The data, illustrated within the following pie charts, shows that most workers drove alone, and the data pertaining to this mode of travel over the two time periods show that the share of workers who drove alone increased slightly from 81.4% to 83.1%.  The second most common means by which people traveled to work over the two time periods was carpooling, which accounted for 12.0% of commuters in 2010 and 9.7% in 2017.  The share of workers using public transit remained almost the same, though declined slightly over the two time frames – from 0.8% to 0.7%.  The percentage of employees who walked also exhibited a decline over the same period, but the percentage of those who utilized other means of travel to work (taxi, motorcycle, bicycle, or other) exhibited a slight increase.  Additionally, the percentage of workers who worked at home increased from 2.8% to 3.7%.

Observing the trend of more commuters driving alone to work in 2017 compared to 2010, and fewer of them using transit, walking, and carpooling in 2017 leads us to draw a potential conclusion for this travel preference.  The 2010 ACS comprises a five-year average inclusive of the years 2006 – 2010, and the Great Recession was in full swing during a good portion of this time frame.  Therefore, it is likely that, due to economic conditions, more people carpooled, used transit, and walked to save money.  In later years, however, the economy was improving and more people possessed the resources to drive alone.  It is likely that as RIDE Solutions becomes more popular in our region in coming years, the percentage of commuters carpooling (and vanpooling) will increase, as residents who travel to work experience the value that carpooling has to offer.

December 11, 2018 @ 4:40pm EST

Latest Population Estimates in the West Piedmont Planning District

Most of us are familiar with the Decennial Census – that full count of persons which takes place every ten years to determine how each state is represented via the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as to guide the disbursement of federal funding to localities, as noted on the Census Bureau’s website (  In recent years, however, the U.S. Census Bureau has begun to conduct sample counts on an annual basis, which establishes intermittent population and housing counts in the years between the Decennial Census.  This sample data, known as the American Community Survey (ACS), is conducted on the basis of one, three, and five year averages, depending on the size of the locality being analyzed, and the sample data is utilized to establish annual estimates.

RIDE Solutions staff analyzed population changes in the West Piedmont Planning District based on the recently-released five-year 2013 – 2017 ACS, which serves as an average over that five-year period.   Staff compared this information with the 2010 Decennial Census to identify population trends occurring in the region.  Data were compiled at the locality level, at the regional scale, and at the state level to highlight these trends.  The table below summarizes these population counts and trends between the Decennial Census and the 2013 – 2017 ACS.  The table shows that most localities, with the exception of Franklin County, experienced a population decline over the period analyzed, with the Commonwealth exhibiting modest growth of 4.6%.



December 4, 2018 @ 10:37am EST

Commuting Patterns To and From the West Piedmont Planning District

An interesting analysis, especially for those employed within the economic development, human resources, and planning professions, would be where employees who are employed in a jurisdiction or region, such as the West Piedmont Planning District, reside.


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