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Report details Boston neighborhoods with the lowest commute times

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  June 14, 2013 02:41 PM

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Residents of Beacon Hill, the Fenway, and downtown are most likely to have commutes of less than half an hour, while residents of Mattapan, Roxbury, and Dorchester are most likely to commute for more than one hour, according to a new report from the city’s redevelopment authority.

The report, “Boston in Context,” compares a range of commute-related and other demographic, economic, and housing characteristics between city neighborhoods, the rest of the state and the country using data from the 2010 Census data and from the 2006-2010 American Community Survey.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority authored the report and released it this week.

The report also found that a higher proportion of West Roxbury residents, about 73.7 percent, drive alone to commute compared with the rest of Boston. Meanwhile, the top carpooling neighborhood is Mattapan, where 14.1 percent of residents share a vehicle to commute.

About 49.3 percent of residents in East Boston use public transportation users, which is a higher ratio than any other Boston neighborhood.

Beacon Hill residents are most likely to commute via another means. About 64.1 percent of commuters there either ride a motorcycle, taxi, bicycle, or walk.

Citywide, about 40 percent of residents drive alone, 7.9 percent carpool, 34.1 percent use public transportation, and 18 percent ride a cab, motorcycle, bike, or walk.

Statewide, residents use those means of commuting at the rates of 75.6 percent, 8.6 percent, 9.4 percent, and 6.4 percent. Nationally, those rates are: 79.3 percent, 10.8 percent, 5.1 percent, and 4.8 percent.

The Longwood Medical Area is populated with more car-less residents than any other part of Boston. About 79.6 percent of residents there do not have access to a vehicle.

The most single-car users are in the South Boston Waterfront, at 55 percent, while the most two-car users are in West Roxbury, at 37.7 percent. The highest ratio of residents with three or more cars is Hyde Park, at 9.8 percent.

Citywide, about 35.9 percent of residents don’t have access to a vehicle; about 42 percent have one vehicle available; 17.6 have two; and 4.4 percent have three or more. Statewide, those figures are 12.2 percent, 35.7 percent, 37.1 percent, and 15 percent. Nationally, they are 8.9 percent, 33.3 percent, 37.9 percent, and 20 percent.

The Longwood Medical Area is home to a higher percentage of out-of-state workers in Boston. About 14 percent of residents there work beyond Massachusetts’ borders.

About 42.1 percent of Brighton residents work outside of Suffolk County, but within the state. It is the highest rate among Boston neighborhoods.

And, compared with the rest of Boston, a higher proportion of East Boston residents, about 27.7 percent, work outside the city, but within Suffolk County.

About 78.6 percent of residents in Beacon Hill, 76.9 percent of the Fenway, and 75.8 percent of those in downtown spend between zero and 29 minutes commuting. About 18.9 percent of Mattapan residents, 13.8 percent of Roxbury residents, and 12.9 percent of Dorchester residents spend more than 60 minutes commuting.

Citywide, 52.3 percent of residents spend zero to 29 minutes commuting; 39 percent spend 30 to 59 minutes commuting; and 8.7 percent commute for more than an hour. Statewide, those figures are 58.8 percent, 31.3 percent, and 9.9 percent. Nationally, they are 64.8 percent, 27.2 percent, and 8 percent.

The neighborhood with the highest median household income is Charlestown at $83,282, followed by the Back Bay at $81,202 and South Boston Waterfront at $81,126.

The median income in Boston is $50,866. In Massachusetts, it is $65,201. The US median income is $52,395.

The median age for Boston is 32.1 years old, which is significantly lower than both the country's, at 37.1, and Massachusetts', at 39. The three youngest neighborhoods are Longwood Medical Area, at 20.7, the Fenway at 22.8, and Allston at 24.8. The oldest median age is in West Roxbury, at 42.2 years old.

To read the report, click here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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