Twitter user @sumnums tweets statistics and other numeric trivia to his feed. He recently published an unlikely figure: fewer than 10% of workers at the United States Air Force Academy north of Colorado Springs, Colorado drive to work.
I looked at the U.S. Census data for the “U.S. Air Force Academy Census Designated Place” (CDP) and discovered he seems to be correct. 8% of workers drive to work, while 84% walk to work!
On further reflection, this shouldn’t be too horribly surprising — anybody who lives on the sprawling Air Force Academy campus (and is not a student) likely works there. While the 7000+ “workers” counted in the Census who live there include the 4500 cadets enrolled at the Academy, the commute mode is counted only for the portion of the resident population who are employed. Although almost every worker who lives on campus owns a car, most of the workers walk to work.
I also took a quick look at the other large service academies. While Air Force has them beat, the walk commute mode still beats other college campuses such as UC-Davis and Stanford that are often recognized for their efforts to encourage non-driving transportation for their faculty and staff.
This is the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, where 42% of workers walk to work.
51% of residents at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD also walk to work. Annapolis is the only large service academy with a sizeable bike mode at 11%.
(I also looked for data for the Coast Guard Academy and the Merchant Marine Academy, but those campuses are too small to merit their own Census places.)
While the United States military is by far the single largest consumer of petroleum fuel in America, they do like to keep their people close to work for numerous reasons.