Typically, on an annual basis, the U.S. Census Bureau releases commutation data, which shows commuting patterns among localities throughout the United States. Recently, I wrote a blog discussing commuting patterns throughout the entire West Piedmont Planning District (please see here: https://ridesolutions.org/2021/04/30/2018-west-piedmont-planning-district-commuting-patterns-where-workers-commuted-to-and-from/), but this week I focus on commuting patterns for Franklin County in 2018, the latest year for which the commute data are available. The data obtained for this analysis was derived from the U.S. Census Bureau’s OnTheMap website, https://onthemap.ces.census.gov/.
The graph below shows that nearly 40 percent of workers who resided in Franklin County in 2018 commuted to workplaces within the County. The second largest share, 18.1 percent, commuted to the City of Roanoke, which is a major employment center, located a short distance north of the County. Directly adjacent to the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County and the City of Salem accounted for the next-highest commuter destinations, representing 8.3 percent and 4.4 percent, respectively. Taken together, 6,897 workers, representing 30.7 percent of all commuters residing in Franklin County, commuted to these three localities comprising the Roanoke Metro Area. Looking south along the U.S. Route 220 corridor, Henry County and the City of Martinsville together represented the next-largest in the succession of destinations for Franklin County out-commuters, representing 1,225 workers, or about 5.5 percent of the total commuters from Franklin County in 2018. Other prominent destinations for Franklin County out-commuters included Montgomery County (394), Bedford County (356), the City of Danville (342), and Botetourt County (328).
The radar graph shown directly below shows the travel direction and distance of Franklin County out-commuters who earned $1,250 or less per month in 2018. The figure shows that most commuters traveled to the north, northwest, and northeast, followed by the south. The figure shows that the total number of individuals traveling at least 25 miles for work was 1,601, or 29.9 percent. A total of $1,250 per month equates to $15,000 per year, which is very low, particularly for one traveling any great distance for work.
The radar graph entitled $1,251 to $3,333 shows the travel direction and distance of those out-commuters from Franklin County earning $15,012 to $39,996 annually in 2018; these figures equate to $15,012 to $39,996 annually. The figure shows that the greatest share of out-commuters traveled north as well as to the northwest, while a lesser share traveled to the northeast and to the south. In terms of distance, a total of 2,155, or 24 percent, traveled at least 25 miles for work.
The following graph shows the number and share of commuters who commuted into Franklin County from other locations in 2018. Of all in-commuters, the graph indicates that the majority – 56 percent – who commuted to the County for work also resided in the County. Henry County represented the second-highest share of in-commuters to Franklin County in 2018, with 6.9 percent, or 1,089, in-commuters. The next several localities in succession of share of inbound commuters included Roanoke County (893), the City of Roanoke (807), Bedford County (654), and Pittsylvania County (378).
The radar graph which follows shows the inbound direction and distance of in-commuters to Franklin County in 2018 who earned maximum pay of $1,250 per month, which translates to $15,000 per year. The graph shows that most in-commuters to Franklin County traveled from the northeast, the north, and the east, with 1,067, or 24.8 percent traveling at least 25 miles to get to work.
The radar graph immediately following, entitled “All Jobs for $1,251 to $3,333 per month in 2018,” shows the direction workers earning $15,012 to $39,996 who were commuting to Franklin County traveled from. The figure shows that the majority commuted from the south, while many commuted from the north and northeast as well. The figure notes that 1,404, or 20.1 percent of commuters who traveled to Franklin County for work commuted at least 25 miles.
There has been past discussion of extending or establishing transit service along the U.S. Route 220 corridor in Franklin County to the south and/or to the north. Information such as that contained in the tables herein can be useful in determining whether transit service may be feasible for the County. Furthermore, the significant number of commuters who traveled at least 25 miles for work and who fell into the lower income brackets indicates that it may be beneficial to look more closely into the possibility of establishing transit, or possibly some form of microtransit, in Franklin County.
If you reside in Franklin County and you commute a significant distance, or if you live in a neighboring locality and commute into the County for work, you can earn points toward great rewards if you are carpooling by downloading the RIDE Solutions app for free, which is available at www.ridesolutions.org. This app also matches you with other carpoolers who may be traveling in a similar direction.