The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments reports just a 1 percent increase in registrations between 2008 and 2011 — far short of matching the population growth of roughly 47,000 more residents between 2000 and 2011, according to census data.
New housing units surrounded by retail stores and transit stops have helped provide alternative options to driving. The infusion of young professionals, often single, has brought an affinity for taking to the bike lanes or walking.
For those occasions when residents do need a car, more are opting for car sharing.
“We’ve seen about a 20 percent growth of membership year over year for the past many years,” says Ellice Perez, the general manager of Zipcar D.C.
“Right now we have about 800 cars in the D.C. area, and this summer we’ll get to 950,” she says, noting the business has been adding up to 100 cars per year.
Capital Bikeshare has seen a similar trend of new customers. It tallied up 96,939 trips in January. The previous January, it recorded just 38,189 trips, according to its website.