Americans are dumping their cars
More people are relying on public transportation in a time of high gas prices, and young adults in particular don't really want a set of wheels.
Business Insider recently looked at some very informative graphs on this topic. One from the Department of Transportation shows the number of U.S. vehicle miles driven, which had been rising steadily since the 1970s, declined at the start of the recession in 2008 and has remained flat ever since. Another graph, from the traffic information service Inrix, notes average commute times during peak hours have also been dropping steadily as gas prices rise.
Some of these trends in our driving habits may reflect a changing economy. The recession certainly prompted many cash-strapped drivers to economize and cut back on unnecessary trips.
But a study done last spring by the Frontier Group and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund (.pdf download) found that Americans have been driving less since the start of the new millennium, well before the recession -- and that the average American was driving 6% less per year in 2011 compared with 2004.
New technologies also have us driving less. Why risk a traffic delay en route to an office meeting when everyone can teleconference? And if you can shop online, you can probably give up an extra trip or two to local mall.
Another factor is people ages 16 to 34, who the study says are driving less than previous generations and more readily adopting non-car transportation alternatives.
The Urban Land Institute reports that many younger Americans are opting go without a car in exchange for living in smaller homes near public transportation and in communities that have amenities like shops and restaurants within walking distance. For many young adults, according to the ULI's annual report, "affordable mass transit beats the hassle and expense of owning a car (not just loan payments, insurance, repairs, gas, but also parking). Others rent when they need to drive, using shared cars."
Many researchers, in fact, "are seeing the young with no interest in cars and driving," Alan Pisarski, a transportation and traffic trends analyst, told Business Insider, "at the same time that joblessness among the young is colossal -- not to mention their parents' joblessness -- or their college loans."
And with more older drivers handing in their car keys, public transportation becoming faster and more reliable, more people living in urban areas and gas prices remaining high, some observers wonder whether driving in developed nations has reached a saturation point.
The concept of what The Economist calls "peak car" is far from certain. And the magazine acknowledges that there's a good chance economic recovery will put more people back in driver's seats -- especially in developing nations where car sales are booming.
But it notes that countries like China, which has the world's biggest car market, might hit the "sprawl wall" sooner than developed nations did and find gridlock and poor air quality not worth the trade-off.
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let's see: a recession, high price of gas, few jobs much less jobs that pay well. no WONDER we see fewer miles driven! add the ability to buy online, and stream entertainment on line rather than hit the movie theater.
smart people - especially starting out - will positon themselves in homes closer to where they work and walk more.
Both of my parents commuted from the Jersey shore into NYC for work, after graduating from college and doing the same thing for the summer after graduating I realized i was not a commuter, so i moved to Manhattan. So afterward my job moved me to Boston, where I lived in Newton, which was a short commute from downtown Boston. I soon got another job this time in Stamford CT, where I lived and loved the ability to walk to work. Job moved and I went with it to Hartford, where it was great to continue to have the ability to either ride my bike, walk, or use the public bus system.
It's not only that fewer people are working it's that a lot of us hate a long commute whether it by public transportation or driving, it's not only the cost but the time, and for many people the reason to have a car was to commute to work. People now want to live near work, shopping and entertainment.
Where I live the car is a need, not a want. This point of needing a car always been true in rural areas of America. I'm driving much less due to gas prices and many I know are doing the same. This is why Americans are driving less because no one can really afford it.
Obamas plan to bring people (And money) back into the city has been taking shape. This is further eviddence of what he wants. Hardcore Socialists like him do not likethe Suburbs or that lifestyle. People who live away from the city tend to be independant and don't lean heavily on Government services.
THE USA HAS NOT SPENT TIME , ENERGY , OR CAPITAL, TO DEVELOP A REAL MASS TRANSIT SYSTEM, SUCH AS WE FIND IN MODERN EUROPE. THE USA IS STILL LIVING IN THE 20TH CENTURY, NOT THE 21ST .
OUR POLITICIANS NEED TO LISTEN TO THE "OTHER CITIZENS" RATHER THAN GO ON THINKING ALL IS GOOD WITH OUR SYSTEM, AND WE DO NOT NEED TO IMPROVE IT. SORRY TO RAMBLE ON THIS ON AND ON, BUT IT IS SOMETHING I AM REALLY ANGRY ABOUT IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY OF OURS.
Has MSN reached peak bad headline?
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