By Eric Sundquist
Business Insider is the latest non-technical publication to highlight the trend toward flat overall vehicle miles traveled and declining per capita VMT.
In a piece filled with useful charts, Doug Short of Advisor Perspectives shows that the current drop in per capita VMT, which began in 2005, is both deeper and more persistent than previous dips, which generally have ended with recessions. He also casts doubt on the idea that the current trend is related to high motor fuel prices.
Another writer on VMT trends has found recent fame as an election prognosticator. Three years before Nate Silver, blogger/columnist for the New York Times, became famous for aggregating presidential election polls, he wrote a piece on VMT trends for Esquire. “This is surely one of the signs of the apocalypse: Americans aren’t driving as much as they used to,” he declared.
Though the information in these pieces will not surprise transportation professionals, they may be useful in outreach to stakeholders.
SSTI is interested in sharing case studies and best practices on ways to address flat /declining VMT. If your agency or firm is adapting planning, design, operations or other work toward this new normal, we would like to hear from you. Please email any suggestions you have to Eric Sundquist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eric Sundquist is Managing Director at SSTI.