Sunday, March 30, 2014

Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year

Cross-posted from State Smart Transportation Initiative

Unlike other past dips in driving, this recent downward shift has had no clear, lasting connection to economic trends or gas prices. Evidence suggests that the decline is likely due to changing demographics, saturated highways, and a rising preference for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods, which reduce the need for driving. Some key factors that pushed VMT upward for decades – including a growing workforce and rising automobile ownership – have also slowed considerably. SSTI released a report last September outlining the many contributing factors, with references to supporting literature.

By now, some DOTs have acknowledged the downward trends in their states and begun to question what it means for their agencies—particularly when it translates into falling revenues, as in Oregon. It appears this has not affected investment priorities significantly in most states, but it has changed the way some DOTs now view future travel needs. Several recently updated long-range transportation plans reflect this shift. [Full article ...]

Poster's note: The below links provide some compelling arguments for why VMT will never return to its former upward trajectory:

“Peak Oil Demand” = Peak Oil
Young Americans Are Abandoning Car Ownership and Driving

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