Monday, December 9, 2013

Taiwan's Transportation Mode Share

The chart below shows what kinds of transport Taiwanese used to travel in 2012 for trips for a specific purpose that exceeded 500 meters, according to the same Ministry of Transportation survey I referenced when I looked at why Taiwanese don't take mass transit.

Mode % in 2012 % change vs. 2009
Private vehicle 72.6% -1.0%
Mass transit 15.0% +1.6%
Walking or cycling 12.4% -0.7%

And this is the mode share for commuting to either work or school:

Mode% in 2012% change vs. 2009
Private vehicle74.1%+0.6%
Mass transit18.3%+1.2%
Walking or cycling7.7%-1.7%

Unsurprisingly, private motorized transport- i.e., cars or scooters- are dominant.  However, this rate is lower than what I've heard of in developed countries (I think 90-95% in the US, 80% in Japan, though I haven't been able to find a good source for comparable data).  My guess is Taiwan's relatively low rate of private vehicle trips is the result of its density, and maybe from its lower average income.
While mass transit is growing more popular, a more unfortunate trend is a decrease in walking and cycling, especially to get to work or school.  I can't say why this is occurring, though it certainly suggests Taiwan's terrible sidewalks aren't improving much.
Below are the percentages for each specific form of transportation, with growth rates since 2011.

Mode % in 2012, all trips change vs. 2011 % in 2012, commutes change vs. 2011
Scooter 47.8% -0.7% 49.4% +0.1%
Car 23.2% -0.9% 22.7% -0.9%
Bus 9.0% +0.8% 11.5% +0.7%
Walking 7.2% +0.5% 3.9% 0
Bicycle 5.2% +0.3% 3.8% +0.5%
MRT 3.9% 0 4.8% -0.2%
Train 1.3% +0.1% 1.6% +0.1%
Taxi 0.6% -0.1% 0.2% 0
HSR 0.1% -0.1% n/a n/a

Also unsurprisingly, scooters are by far the favorite mode in Taiwan, though they don't quite account for half of all trips.  For mass transit, buses (which include highway and freeway coaches as well as city buses) are the most popular form, which is also not unexpected given Taiwan's limited rail coverage outside the Taipei Basin.  More surprising to me is the popularity of cycling, despite the poor cycling conditions in most Taiwanese cities.
In contrast to the period between 2009 and 2012, trends between 2011 and 2012 have mostly been positive- according to the report's introduction the 2012 was the first year that public transit and non-motorized transit both gained mode share.  The MRT was an exception to this trend, however, and didn't gain mode share despite the opening of the Xinzhuang Line- in fact, it lost a little for commutes.  Buses have been doing pretty well, however.

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