Berks County residents rely heavily on personal automobiles to commute, travel and run errands. The vast majority commute to work by driving alone, with an average travel time of 25 minutes. However, about 1 in 10 households lack access to a vehicle. There were 9 alcohol-related crashes per 10,000 residents in 2018, higher than the statewide rate.
Commuting patterns reflect the transportation choices available to workers in a region. This can affect residents’ access to jobs and public services. These patterns also impact environmental and transportation planning in a region. In 2014-18, 83% of Berks County residents drove to work alone, 10% carpooled, 2% used public transit, and 5% biked, walked or used other means of transportation. These commuting patterns have not changed since 2000. Slightly more people used public transportation at the state and national levels.
Travel time to work is another reflection of transportation options, as well as the availability of desirable and affordable housing near employers. In 2014-18, Berks County’s average travel time of 25 minutes was up 3 minutes from 2000. This was still slightly less than the statewide and U.S. average (both 27 minutes).
Access to a vehicle can have a major impact on a person’s ability to work, conduct daily errands such as grocery shopping and get involved in civic life. In 2014-18, 8% of households in Berks County lacked access to a vehicle, down 3 percentage points since 2000. This was lower than Pennsylvania and similar to the nation.
Alcohol-related crashes are preventable, and they cost millions of dollars in health care, legal services and lost worker productivity. The county’s 2018 alcohol-related crash rate of 8.7 per 10,000 was down 36% from 14 per 10,000 in 2000, but has been flat since 2009. This was higher than the statewide rate of 7.7 crashes per 10,000 residents.
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