How does Berks County compare? KEY INDICATORS The quality and safety of the transportation network within the county was universally identified as a concern of county residents, twothirds saying that the roads and bridges were fair or poor. Nearly three-quarters of county residents said that transportation networks in the county were a significant problem. Residents in the Northeastern quadrant of the county, those living along the Route 78 and Route 222 corridors were even more adamant in expressing their concerns about Berks county roads and bridges. However, it is not clear that the concern is with the design of the road system, the condition of the highways and bridges or the amount of traffic on the roads. There are 3,326 miles of roads in the county, 72% of which are locally maintained. Both Lancaster and Lehigh Counties have similar percentages of local roads. Approximately 386,000 vehicles are registered in the county, two-thirds of which are passenger cars. That is an average of 0.625 cars for every county resident. On a daily basis, Berks County residents travel in excess of 9 million miles. That translates to a daily 46
B E R K S V I TA L S I G N S
average of 23.5 miles for every registered vehicle. A common way of measuring road traffic is the average daily mileage traveled per capita. For Berks County, that average is about 21.9 miles of daily travel by every county resident. By these standards, Berks County residents are driving less every day than the residents of all of the neighboring counties. Approximately half of those county residents commuting to work travel less than 20 minutes each day. However another third travel over an hour to get to work. As noted earlier, over a quarter of the workers living in the county travel outside its borders for work. Attitudes toward mass transit in the county are much more favorable, at least among those who are most familiar with those services. According to transit data, there is a very wide seasonal variation in ridership. The total number of rides in the fourth quarter of the year is three times larger than the number of rides in the first quarter of the. That said, over the past four years there has been a slow but steady increase in the ridership numbers for the erks County regional transit system (BARTA).