In 2011, 76.4 percent of U.S. workers drove alone to work, while 9.7 percent of workers carpooled to work. In Oregon, 73.2 percent of workers drove alone to work and 12.2 percent carpooled to work. Crook County led the way in carpooling, with 18 percent of the county's workers carpooling to work. Sherman County had the lowest share of workers carpooling in 2011, with only 8.5 percent.
Nationwide, 5.0 percent of workers used public transportation (excluding taxis) to travel to work in 2011. In Oregon, only 4.2 percent of workers used public transportation to get to work. The lower share of Oregonians utilizing public transportation is likely due to Oregon being more rural than the U.S., on average. Within Oregon, looking at the tri-county area, Multnomah County had the highest share of working residents using public transportation to travel to work in 2011, with 11.1 percent. Washington County and Clackamas County had 5.8 percent and 3.1 percent of workers respectively using public transportation to travel to work. At the other end of the spectrum, in rural counties such as Gilliam, Harney, Jefferson, Lake, Morrow, Wheeler, and Sherman, workers using public transportation to commute were virtually non-existent in 2011.
Two other ways that Oregonians transport themselves to work involve technology that predates combustion engines: walking and riding a bike. Oregon outpaced the nation last year in terms of the share of workers who walk and ride bikes to work. In 2011, 3.6 percent of Oregon's workers walked to work; that compares with 2.8 percent for the United States. Nationally, only 0.6 percent of workers rode bikes to work. In Oregon, 1.1 percent of workers rode their bike to work.
Within Oregon, metropolitan counties like Multnomah (4.6%), Lane (4.2%), and Benton (7.7%) counties all had a higher share of workers walking to work compared with the state average. However, it was some of Oregon's rural counties that reported having the highest share of workers walking to work. Harney, Lake, and Jefferson counties all had more than 9.0 percent of workers walking to work in 2011.
Benton County also had the highest share (4.8%) of workers biking to work in 2011 among Oregon's counties. Lane County (3.0%) and Multnomah County (1.5%) had the second and third highest percentage of workers biking to work.
Some of Oregon's workers did not have to leave the comfort of their home to arrive at work. Advances in communication and information technology are increasingly allowing workers to perform their jobs at home. In 2011, 5.0 percent of Oregon's workers worked from home. That compared with 4.3 percent of workers in the U.S. Wheeler County had far and away the highest share of workers who worked from home at 18.9 percent; this helps explain why Wheeler County had the lowest percentage of workers traveling to work in an automobile. Baker County, at 10.6 percent, had the second highest share of workers who worked from home. Umatilla County had only 3.6 percent of its workers that worked at home, the lowest share in the state.
Looking at all of Oregon's workers, the average commute to work was 22.2 minutes in 2011. Harney County had the shortest average commute at 14.8 minutes. Wheeler County's average commute time of 30.8 minutes was the longest commute time of Oregon's 36 counties.