How do central city people get to work?

Many central city residents have claimed recently that they can’t get to work if there isn’t parking both at their residence and at their work. I was curious just how central city folks do get to work, so I delved into census data (more about that below the graphic).

Turns out a lot of central city residents don’t drive to work. In 95814 (where I live) and 95811, about 56% use privately owned vehicles (POV = car/truck/van), but the other 44% walk, bicycle, use transit, or work from home. That is remarkable! When you think about how much attention and money we devote to those who drive, it eye-opening. Other areas near the central city have high active and transit use, but it falls off rapidly in most of the suburbs (but not all). The map below zeroes in on the central city. The Sacramento County Privately Owned Vehicles (POV) Commute is also available.




So, where does this information come from? The American Community Survey, 2014 version, which has estimated data covering a five year period. The report from which I extracted the data is S0801, Commuting Characteristics by Sex. The field mapped above is HC01_EST_VC03, which is “Total; Estimate; MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO WORK – Car, truck, or van.” I think the symbology (colors) I used represent what I’m trying communicate – green is good, red is bad.

It took quite some time to find the fields I was looking for, and the search tool does not make it easy ( Then it took some time to figure out how to extract the data fields I wanted and dispose of those I did not. And then it took a LOT of time to figure out how to get ArcGIS ArcMap to match the zip coded commuting data with the county’s zip code map. Turns out that Excel does not properly label the data type of a field, so either the zip code was a number, which didn’t match the text in the zip code layer, or the rest of the data was text, which could not be symbolized properly. I had to use Apple Numbers to create an export format that retained the correct field type. But now that I know how to do this, I’ll have some more maps to share soon.


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