Survey says, nearly half downtown WPB patrons prefer to arrive car free.

The graph shows that 43% of people prefer not to drive to downtown, West Palm Beach.

Car free preferences have nearly doubled in 4 years

WEST PALM BEACH (April 29, 2024) – In a public survey from December 2023 through January 2024, 43% of respondents indicated they use modes other than their car to get to downtown West Palm Beach. An additional 4% indicated they drove but would prefer to walk, bike, carpool, or use transit to get to Downtown if they could. These statistics indicate a major shift. An identical survey taken during the same period four years ago indicated that 25% arrived Downtown without their car, and 75% arrived by their own car or truck.

 

 

The details of the survey point to recovery of pre-COVID utilization of public transit buses and trains, alongside an increase in walking. In the winter of 2023/2024, most non-car drivers walked to their downtown destination (22%). This is an increase from winter 2019/2020 when only 15% indicated they arrived downtown as pedestrians. Buses accounted for 9% of arrivals, and trains (Brightline plus Tri-Rail) accounted for 3%.

 

 

The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority funds an intercept survey of downtown users every two years. Using a consistent methodology since the winter of 2015/2016, this survey, conducted by Radius Insights, engages downtown users at key locations throughout downtown and asks a series of questions about downtown users’ visits, preferences, visitation purpose, and method of travel to access downtown. Those surveyed represent residents, commuters, and visitors to the downtown area.

The consistency of the survey data offers an insightful look at how our rapidly changing city has adapted to increasing jobs and popularity with visitors and embraced various changes, such as increased housing and amenities downtown and changes to Tri-Rail and Brightline service over the years.

WPBgo focuses on increasing the share of non-car trips. Solo driver mode requires the most use of expensive and limited parking and takes up the most significant amount of space per person on our roads. Our downtown can accommodate more visitors and jobs by promoting and increasing the use of walking, biking, buses, trains, and carpooling. These efforts are necessary as key corridors become more congested. On Okeechobee Blvd, for example, traffic volumes have increased 27% from 63,000 cars a day in 2019 to 80,000 cars a day in 2023.

The survey data is backed up by ridership data from transit agencies. In the Downtown West Palm Beach Modesplit survey, transit ridership dropped to 1% of survey respondents during the pandemic but now registers 9% of commuters and visitors. Three percent of downtown users report arriving by train (Brightline or Tri-Rail). Both Palm Tran and Tri-Rail report ridership returning at or above pre-pandemic levels.

“Every additional person who travels car-free means one less car stuck in congestion on Okeechobee, Dixie, or A1A,” said the West Palm Beach Mobility Coalition Executive Director Jonathan Hopkins. “Making our roads more efficient in this way helps us preserve our quality of life, attract talented employees, and welcome visitors who help power our economy.”

 

Share

Latest News

Other Articles

One Parking and WPBgo Collaboration Continues Till the End of June.   West Palm Beach, FL - WPBgo is excited to announce the extension of the free Bike Valet service at 360 Rosemary until the end of June! This service ... Read More

Commuters can reduce congestion and save money using Transit App and new carpool / vanpool matching tools WEST PALM BEACH, FL - The West Palm Beach Mobility Coalition, known as WPBgo, today announced the launch of several new tools to ... Read More