Yonah Freemark

Looking for hard numbers on travel trends? Bookmark this handy online compendium of graphs, charts, and stats.

Urban wonk and occasional CityLab contributor Yonah Freemark has done a great service for all those scouring the internet for stats on VMT, light-rail ridership trends, or mode share (you know you who are, monster nerds). His blog, The Transport Politic, now includes a handy encyclopedia of interactive charts and tables documenting U.S. travel trends. Launched last week, it’s designed to be a primary destination for high-quality transportation data, updated frequently and with links to the original source.   

"There was a lot of transit data I was looking for, and I kept re-looking for it again and again,” he says. “I thought if I was doing that, I bet other people are doing that too. So I figured, Why not make it public?”

So far his Transport Databook drills down into a number of useful themes, including several different measures of U.S. vehicle-miles traveled, traffic safety statistics, changing gas prices, city-by-city transit ridership shares, transportation funding and commute mode shares on the national and local levels. Most of the numbers come from federal agencies and stretch back to the early 1990s. Freemark has also started to put together data on transportation mode shares in cities outside the U.S., but he’s found that finding useable, comparable international measures has been a challenge. So far there’s just a handful of European cities available. Like the whole compendium, that section is a work in progress.

This isn’t Freemark’s day job: He’s a former project manager at the Metropolitan Planning Council in Chicago, now working on a Ph.D in urban planning at MIT.

Check out a sample of Freemark’s graphs (all created using Google’s chart tool) above and below. It’s a very handy companion to other recent “one stop” data shops on all things urban, including DataUSA and AllTransit. Happy digging.

Total U.S. vehicle miles traveled

(Courtesy of Yonah Freemark)

Operating effectiveness of U.S. commuter rail systems (2015)

(Courtesy of Yonah Freemark)

Change in bus ridership in U.S. urban areas

(Courtesy of Yonah Freemark)

U.S. vehicle ownership by household

(Courtesy of Yonah Freemark)

Transit modes as share of total ridership

(Courtesy of Yonah Freemark)

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