Vehicle Availability for U.S. Metros
Story and Visualization by Melanie Kiper | Posted 11/11/2020 | Updated 2/3/2021
In the United States, 8.6% of occupied housing units have no vehicle available. This varies across all households in U.S. metros areas, ranging from 30.1% in the New York City metro to 2.3% in the Provo-Orem, Utah, metro. For almost all categories of households, New York City has over twice the percentage of households with no vehicle than any other metro. Comparing tenure of households, in New York City, the portion of households without a vehicle is 5. times higher among renter-occupied housing units than owner-occupied housing units.
When looking at households based on the age of the householder, whether under age 65 or age 65 or older, New York City has the highest no-vehicle rate among both under 65 and 65 or older households (29.8% and 33.4%, respectively), but it has a small ratio (1.1 to 1) when comparing these two types of households. This means there is not much difference between the two types of households. In comparison, in the Omaha metro, households with a householder age 65 or older are 2.4 times more likely to not have a vehicle than households with a householder under age 65.
Also included is data on the number of workers in the household versus vehicles available for the household. These data show a potential transportation issue, not only in getting to work, but in getting around generally since the calculation is based on workers who are age 16 or older and eligible to drive, rather than household size which could include young kids not yet eligible to drive or older adults who no longer drive.
Data on vehicle availability is important to understand access to transportation; plan and fund improvemenst to roads and infrastructure; develop transportation plans and services; understand how people are traveling in the course of a normal day; and evaluate pollution and access to transportation in emergencies.
Only the top 200 highest ranking metros for each category are shown on the map; the other 183 metros are excluded from the map, but the data for those are available on the table below the map.