When Mayor Bloomberg rattled off the statistic "Of the New Yorkers who work in Manhattan, only five percent commute by car" during his PlaNYC speech, we were intrigued and wondered how that number was calculated. Now, we have a 166-page PDF to delve into, as the Mayor's Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability has released its technical report.

Streetsblog pointed out the cool maps that illustrate the commuters mentioned by the Mayor:

The map is broken down by census tract. Height represents the total number of single-passenger drivers and color represents the percentage of commuters who chose to drive alone to workplaces below 96th Street. A darker color means a higher percentage of single-passenger drivers and a lighter color means more people used transit, walked, carpooled or used a ferry or bike. It turns out that only 4.6% of New York City residents drive to work in the Manhattan core in single-passenger motor vehicle.

Here's another great factoid from the report: If New Yorkers owned cars at the same rate as the rest of the nation, it would take 11,000 acres, or all of Manhattan below 136th Street, just to park them end to end.

Certainly, mass transit options in or closer to Manhattan skew the statistics. That's why we also liked a series of maps that showed traffic to specific parts of the outer-boroughs, like this one that shows commutes to downtown Jamaica.


Mayor Bloomberg says congestion pricing has to happen now or else "it is unlikely to get done for a very long time." Notable critics of the plan are City Comptroller William Thompson and Representative Anthony Weiner, who are both potential candidates for mayor in 2009.