Most People are Driving. What Opportunities are Available for Reducing Automobile Trips?
As part of this study Fehr & Peers purchased anonymized and aggregated GPS data from Streetlight Data. This data was collected for people traveling to, from, and through Walnut Creek between April 2017 and March 2018. The data is a sample of GPS devices in the region, and commute versus non-commute trips are estimated based on where the device is located during the night and day, the duration of the stay, and the underlying land uses at the site. The GPS data provides insight into travel patterns of residents, workers, and visitors of Walnut Creek. The key findings from this data are highlighted below.
The majority of work trips start outside of Walnut Creek and specifically Concord, Clayton, Martinez and other areas in East Contra Costa County.
Non-work trips are centered around the South Downtown Mixed Use Area, Downtown Restaurants, and Broadway Plaza
The majority of non-work trips start in Walnut Creek and there is significantly more non-work trips from Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and Saranap.
Trips through select study segments show that a large portion of trips start and/or end outside of Walnut Creek. Roadways closer to the downtown core have the highest percentage of trips that stay completely within Walnut Creek.
Travel Flow Analysis
Commute Travel Patterns
Walnut Creek employment commute trips were collected at four key employment centers. The majority of trips to these employment centers came from outside Walnut Creek.
Kaiser Medical Center
John Muir Medical Campus
As shown in the figure below, travel to these employment centers primarily originates in the Concord-Clayton-Martinez region with over 30% of commute trips starting here. Approximately 10% – 20% of travel originates from within Walnut Creek. A large portion of travel also starts in Eastern Contra Costa County and the Alamo-Danville-TriValley region.
These travel patterns show that the majority of people employed in Walnut Creek live in Central and Eastern Contra Costa County. While there is a significant proportion of the Bay Area population that lives to the west of the Oakland Hills, this population makes up a small portion of travel to Walnut Creek for work.
Non-commute Travel Patterns
Non-commute travel patterns to Walnut Creek are different than commute trips into Walnut Creek. Non-commute trips primarily originate within Walnut Creek, with approximately 50% of trips starting in Walnut Creek as shown in the figure below. Lafayette, Moraga, Orinda, and Saranap also make up a much larger portion of non-commute trips. Concord-Clayton-Martinez still makes up a significant portion of non-commute travel into Walnut Creek. The majority of other non-commute travel is also from areas east of the Oakland Hills.
Key destinations for non-commute travel into Walnut Creek is centered in the Downtown area as shown in the figure below. The figure below weights the zones by area so that small zones and large zones can be compared against eachother. The data shows that South Downtown Walnut Creek Mixed Use area, the Walnut Creek Restaurants Area, and Broadway Plaza have the highest density of non-work trips. Alarge portion of travel also occurs along the Main Street Corridor and North Downtown Walnut Creek. These areas consist of auto dealerships, auto repair, retailers such as Target and services such as banks and medical offices.
Travel Through Key Corridors
Fehr & Peers also collected GPS data through Streetlight Data for twelve study segments dispersed in Walnut Creek. The information identifies where people started and ended their trip if they passed through this location. The twelve locations all highlight that a majority of travel on these corridors have their start and/or end outside of Walnut Creek as shown in the figure below. Those that have the most travel starting and ending within Walnut Creek are located on the north/south roads just south of Ygnacio Valley road. These locations are in central Walnut Creek, and are also near the core of Downtown Walnut Creek.
This data highlights that Downtown is a key area for travel taking place in Walnut Creek
Walnut Creek is employment heavy.
Walnut Creek’s has more people that commute in than commute out. Therefore, TDM measures that target work trips may be more effective than those targeting residents.
Non-commute trips are primarily from Walnut Creek.
Unlike commute trips, the majority of non-commute travel is local. This is a good opportunity to implement TDM measures because residents can switch to other modes of travel.
Commute trips are primarily from east of the Oakland Hills.
While there is high population density and good transit service west of the Oakland Hills, the majority of commute travel comes from areas further in the East Bay. While BART serves some of these areas, transit access for Walnut Creek employees may be difficult.
Travel internal to Walnut Creek is centered around Downtown.
The majority of travel on key corridors in Walnut Creek has a start or end outside of the City, but Downtown has a larger portion of internal travel. Therefore, improving accessibility for non-auto modes in the core has the most potential to shift how people travel.
Needs, Opportunities, and Challenges
A better jobs to housing balance to more effectively shift how people travel. To further help shift how people travel, housing development near Downtown and BART will allow for the most potential of shifting peoples travel patterns.
Walnut Creek is a major employment center and shopping destination for residents of the east bay. Therefore, more aggressive TDM measures can be implemented without greatly deterring travel. Furthermore, Walnut Creek has easy access to two BART stations which offers alternatives for regional access to housing, jobs, and shopping/entertainment. Walnut Creek can focus TDM measures around these regional facilities to catalyze their benefits to the community.
Replace section with the following, “Travel patterns in Walnut Creek show that there is a lot of regional travel in and out of Walnut Creek. Current infastructure promotes automobile travel for these trips with adequate parking, transit stations focused around automobile access, and regional roadways (such as Ygnacio Valley Road) being dedicated to automobile travel. For Walnut Creek to shift automobile travel to other modes, Walnut Creek will need to improve local connections with better jobs housing balance, but also provide greater resources to other modes of travel to encourage non-automobile travel.