Burning Man Related Variables: How Do People Arrive?

Clicking your heels together, travelling by Tardis, or the using the Floo Network may very well bring you to the playa, but the surveyed population of Black Rock City cites more traditional sources of transportation.


The vast majority of Burners entered the event through the gates, while 0.9% entered through other means, including staff entrances and the airport.


Burners who help setup the event and major theme camps are granted Early Arrival passes and accounted for 12.2% of the population. Early Arrival applies to anyone with approved access to the playa before 6pm on the Sunday prior to the Man Burn. While the event officially begins Sunday night at 6pm, the largest block of Burners arrive on the playa on the first Monday of the event (more than ⅓), with a quarter still to arrive after Monday, peaking on the Thursday of the event. Conversely, most depart on the following Sunday (over half) and 88% depart within the last 48 hours of the event.




76.2% of Burners carpooled to the event, a number that may increase with the introduction of vehicle passes, an initiative on the part of the BMOrg to reduce the amount of traffic and congestion at the gates in 2014.


To understand the carpooling behavior, we asked participants the actual number of people per vehicle. The weighted results indicate 11% of Burners traveled alone. 41% traveled with one other person. The remainder traveled in a car of three or more.

Contrary to earlier posts on burningman.com site which reported a “typical vehicle .. carries 1.9 people,” Census Lab random sampling at the gate produced a number between 2.2 and 2.4. Furthermore, if we extrapolate from the weighted survey responses, we also get an average number of people per vehicle of around 2.3 in the same range. The implication may be that we are closer the stated goal of 2.5 participants per vehicle. Alternatively, to reach the intended reductions in road congestion, the target may have to be closer to 3 participants per vehicle.


When deciding with whom to carpool, many Burners caught a ride with friends or family, with others finding rides through a combination of craigslist, shuttle services, the Rideboard, or someone they met at a previous burn. This will be an interesting statistic to watch in future years with the expansion of the shuttle service in 2014 and the introduction of the vehicle fee. 6.6% of respondents chose “other.”


As many call the playa home, they also refer to their fellow Burners as their family. When surveyed, 23% of them reported another member of their family at Burning Man, and 11% reported two or more family members present.


Speaking of family, don’t forget that Black Rock City is home to Burners of ALL ages!


When there was only one child in a vehicle, they tended to be under 12 years old, but when more than one child was present, they were likely to include a child in the 13-17 year old range (children include anyone under 18 years of age).

Written by:

Alison, aka Love,Ali

Edited by:

Tabitha Palmer aka Tabicat


One response

  1. Pingback: Sources of Power on the Playa | Black Rock City Census

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