40% of people in Downtown WPB prefer arriving car-free

Family riding bikes in West Palm Beach, Florida

The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority’s biannual surveys of attitudes and travel preferences have revealed that since 2019, West Palm Beach has experienced a significant growth in people using or seeking to use alternatives to car travel to reach Downtown West Palm Beach.

Graphic demonstrating stats of West Palm Beach residents voting on car-free methods to commute

In the winter of 2019/2020, 25% of people encountered by surveyors stated they got to downtown without their car. When asked about their preferred manner to get to downtown, the same share said they preferred getting downtown without their car. Fast forward to winter 2021/2022, and 33% of respondents stated that they arrived downtown without their car, and 40% say their preference would be car-free. This means that 7% of people would come to downtown without their car if provided options that work for them as alternatives.

“With a 15 percentage point biannual growth rate in people who want to get to downtown without their car, we estimate that in 10 years we will reach 115% of people that want to get to downtown without their cars,” said Jonathan Hopkins, Executive Director of WPBgo.“All kidding aside, this is a fantastic increase in the number of people that are seeking enjoyable and low-impact, congestion-free ways to get around. I expect the long term trend to continue.”

During this period, the largest gains were among those who walk, increasing by 10 percentage points on mode taken and 12 percentage points on mode preference. Growth in walking appears to correlate with increased density in downtown West Palm Beach. During the period 2020-2021, city reports show that nearly 500 new residential units were completed, rivaling the total of new units completed in 2019 alone. Meanwhile, 2021 saw over 80,000 square feet of office space added downtown, while 2019-2020 combined totaled over 60,000 square feet. Density enables more people to get to work, food and entertainment options without their car.

The surveys have been conducted by Radius biannually since 2015 and have a margin of error of __%. The Downtown Development Authority is conducting the same survey this winter with results due by the end of winter 2024.

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