Photo by karen.j.ybanez on Flickr.

A while ago, I wrote about the car situation in Georgetown and argued that a small amount of residents were having an outsized impact on the supply of cars in the neighborhood.

In writing this article, I relied on the census data from 2000. Now that the American Community Survey five-year estimates I can see whether the 200 stats are still holding up.

As many readers know, ACS data has high margins of error at the census tract level. So take these with a little grain of salt.

By the numbers, here’s how Georgetown gets around:

Car ownership

When I first looked into this, I found a surprising amount of households in Georgetown without any cars. That number has increased.

Here are the numbers from 2000:

  • Total households without any car: 20%
  • Total households with just one car: 57%
  • Total households with two or more cars: 23%

Here are what the ACS was the average from 2005-2009:

  • Total households without any car: 22%
  • Total households with just one car: 50%
  • Total households with two or more cars: 28%

In one way this is good news, since 2% more household are going without cars, but in another way it’s worse since 5% of households have become multi-car households. It’s important to remember that there are rather high margins of error on these numbers, so it’s tough to say what’s changed, if anything, since 2000.

What I see as most important is that the numbers appear to confirm that somewhere around 1 in 5 Georgetown households gets along without a car.

The numbers aren’t even from the east to the west side. The east side has way more carless households (26%!) but has a lot more multi-car households, too (32%). The west side’s numbers are more balanced (15% no car households and 23% multi-car).

In 2000, Georgetown was estimated to have 4936 cars. The ACS now estimates Georgetown has 4559 cars. That would appear to be an 8% drop in cars. If that’s the only true statistic, that would be good enough news.

Commuting mode share

According to the 2000 census, here’s how Georgetowners got to work:

  • Drive to work: 46% (38% drive alone, 7% carpool)
  • Transit: 16%
  • Bike: 4%
  • Walk: 25%
  • Other: 9%
Here are the updated numbers:
  • Drive to work: 40% (35% drive alone, 4% carpool)
  • Transit: 22%
  • Bike: 3%
  • Walk: 25%
  • Other: 10% (mostly people who work at home)

If these numbers are accurate, they represent a big shift towards transit. People driving to work fell 13% and transit use increased by 38%(!) The ACS now estimates that fifty percent of Georgetowners get to work by bus, bike or foot.

Perhaps this shift can be attributed to the introduction of the popular Circulator bus, or perhaps it’s simply a shift in population. Either way, it demonstrates that the car is not king in Georgetown anymore.

Cross-posted at the Georgetown Metropolitan.

Topher Mathews has lived in the DC area since 1999. He created the Georgetown Metropolitan in 2008 to report on news and events for the neighborhood and to advocate for changes that will enhance its urban form and function. A native of Wilton, CT, he lives with his wife and daughter in Georgetown.