SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - A new report from the Santa Barbara County Association of Governments (SBCAG) sheds like on the regional travel patterns that could shape future transportation planning efforts.
"Overall, the report tells us that people are driving less and that's been a goal of everyone in the community and a policy goal to really reduce and meet the state demands for climate change," said Lauren Bianchi Klemann, SBCAG Public Information Manager.
The report found remote-work surged by more than 150 percent since 2019. For those that don't work from home, the report sheds light on how people get to and from work.
Of the trips between the North County and the South Coast, people living in the City of Buellton are driving the furthest in the region at an average of 25.9 miles while people living in the City of Santa Barbara have the shortest average work commute at 8.9 miles.
The report also found the majority of people who work in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria actually live in those cities. However, less than 20 percent of people who live in Buellton and Guadalupe actually work there. The trend continues in Solvang and Goleta, where many commuters come from outside the city.
Approximately 38,500 Ventura County residents travel to Santa Barbara County on an average weekday. The report found that out of these trips, around 11,100 are made for work purposes.
The report also found that drivers on the central coast have a slight bias towards State Route 154 when traveling southbound instead of continuing on Highway 101.
In addition to transportation the report highlights some trends in housing and demographics in the region.
Available rental housing in the region has plummeted by approximately 40% in the past decade.
The region's 60 - 69 age group has increased by 71% in the past two decades while the region's adult and child population in the middle age groups of 30- 49 and 0 - 9 are shrinking.
SBCAG says this report presents reliable and informative statistics and trends related to transportation, land use, people, mobility, the economy, and social equity.
"This data helps give [regional decision makers] a snapshot about what the trends are and what's happening in their community so that they can make better informed and reliable decisions," said Klemann.
SBCAG says this report utilized data from the U.S. Census Bureau and a large-scale simulation travel modeling tool called Replica. According to the report, Replica uses mobile location from cell phones and GPS, economic activity from credit card data, land use data, and demographic data from public and private sources.
"[Replica] takes a lot of different data sources to ensure accuracy without compromising individually privacy," said Klemann. "So it's not tracking any one individual person but looking at the aggregate of data and modeling accordingly."