Transportation Choice

Desired Trend


Current Trend

Baseline (2010): 17.0%
Current (2021): 28.2%

Theme Connected


Total percent of workers commuting via all non-SOV modes (walking, biking, transit, rideshare, other modes, or who work from home).1


Why is it Important?

An increase in transportation choice means that people of all abilities and income levels have greater access to destinations.1 Personal vehicles offer flexibility, but they are expensive and have many external costs for society including pollution, infrastructure maintenance, and congestion. In addition, personal vehicles are not feasible options for people who cannot drive, such as some elderly or disabled residents, or for people who cannot afford a car. Active modes of transportation including walking and bicycling are sustainable because they provide cardiovascular exercise, have little to no cost, and are pollution-free. Rideshare and transit are also sustainable options because they emit less pollution than travel by single occupancy vehicles and are more affordable. Due to data availability, this indicator focuses solely on commute to work trips. The focus on commute trips is apt because they commonly coincide with peak traffic congestion, meaning that improvements in this indicator will likely signify greater reductions in congestion and pollution.

How are we Doing?

In the St. Louis region, the percentage of workers commuting using a mode other than driving alone increased substantially, particularly between 2019 and 2021. These non-single occupancy vehicle (SOV) modes include walking, bicycling, transit, rideshare, working from home, and “other modes.”2 This increase is primarily due to the increase in workers who telecommute, which steadily increased over the last decade and then spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

In 2021, 28.2 percent of workers in the St. Louis MSA commuted to work using a non-SOV mode. This is an increase of 11.2 percentage points from 2010 when 17 percent of commuters used these modes. The largest change by far was in the percentage of commuters who worked from home, which increased from 3.7 percent in 2010 to 5.1 in 2019 and then to 18.7 percent in 2021.3 The proportions of commuters using the other modes did not change as dramatically. The next most frequently used mode is carpooling, which was used by 6 percent of workers in 2021, a 1.7 percentage point decrease since 2010. Transit commuters and those who walk or bike to work do make up large proportions of workers, accounting for 1.2 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, of commuters in 2021.

The most common commute mode in the EWG region for people of all races and ethnicities in 2021 was driving alone, and the second most common for most population groups was working from home. Over half of commuters in all race/ethnic groups drove alone to work in 2021. White (not Hispanic or Latino) workers were the most likely to drive alone (73.4 percent) and Asian (non-Hispanic or Latino) workers were the least likely to drive alone (57.5 percent) due to a much larger share working from home.

Black (not Hispanic or Latino) workers were the most likely to use public transit (5.1 percent) and White (not Hispanic or Latino) workers are the least likely (0.7 percent) to use public transit. The number of Black (not Hispanic or Latino) commuters using public transit as their main mode of transportation to work (14,496 workers) was nearly twice the number of White workers using public transit (7,407 workers). In 2021, Black commuters accounted for more than half (58.8 percent) of those using transit as their main mode to travel to work. White commuters were the next largest group, accounting for 30 percent. Transportation Choice in the St. Louis region is not as high as in most of the peer regions. In 2021, the St. Louis MSA ranked 4th among the 50 most populous metropolitan regions. The percent of workers commuting via non-SOV modes is about four percentage points below the average for the United States (32.2 percent).

Transportation Choice St. Louis

Geographic Level

St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). View map.


1Previous versions did not include the “other modes” category. It is included now to be consistent with what is used for the East-West Gateway performance dashboard, which is based on guidance from FHWA. 

2Other modes include taxis and motorcycles.

3Data for all years was adjusted to the current 15-county MSA boundary for the St. Louis MSA.



Data Sources

Decennial Census and American Community Survey, United States Census Bureau