Single-occupancy car trips remain the "preferred mode" of transportation for Palo Alto residents who commute to work, as well as for non-residents who commute into the city for work each day.
However, for Palo Altans with school-age children, bicycling has caught up with driving as a way to get to school.
These tidbits can be gleaned from the city's first-ever "transportation survey" of residents and workers administered this past spring. A summary of the results is contained in an "informational report" for the City Council at its meeting Monday, Dec. 9.
About 2,800 residents, as well as 852 non-residents who commute in to Palo Alto daily, responded to the survey, which was made available online through Survey Monkey as well as through hard copies in various community facilities. The survey was administered from March 11 through May 5.
About half of the Palo Alto residents who responded reported living within one mile of a Caltrain station.
Eighty percent of vehicles owned by the Palo Alto respondents are gas-powered, but 20 percent are now powered by alternatives with hybrids (11 percent) being most popular followed by compressed natural gas (7 percent) and electric (2 percent).
Forty-four percent of residents who responded reported that they commute daily to a workplace outside of Palo Alto, while 39 percent said they work within Palo Alto or at Stanford University. Much smaller numbers said they work from home.
Second to solo-driving commuting for Palo Alto residents was bicycle commuting, followed by carpooling, Caltrain and walking.
Residents reported that their most frequent regular shopping destination was Town & Country Village, followed by Midtown, Downtown, California Avenue, Charleston Center and Stanford. More than 71 percent said they drive to go shopping.
Among non-residents who commute into Palo Alto for work, more than half also reported solo driving as their most frequent mode of commute. The next biggest chunk said they come by Caltrain, followed by carpooling and bicycling.
The most frequently reported home zip code among non-resident commuters was San Jose (18 percent). Those commuting from Mountain View and Menlo Park together comprise 14 percent, about the same number who come from San Mateo, South San Francisco, Burlingame, san Carlos, Belmont and San Bruno combined.