Chart of the Day: Climbing “Mount Auto”

Here’s a chart from the new book by streets.mn writers David Levinson and Kevin Krizek called “The End of Traffic and the Future of Transport,” all about trends that are changing how we think about transportation. I managed to get my hands on an (appropriately electronic) copy of it, and it’s full of great charts.

Here’s one from the first chapter, about the decline in driving in America from what the call “the peak of Mount Auto” (opposed against transit use):


mount-auto-chart

And here’s one more, for good measure, showing the “total time spent traveling”:

total-time-travelling-chart

As the authors describe, there is some debate over whether this driving plateau is permanent. But they suggest that it’s rooted in a large culture and demographic shift. Here’s a quote:

Many people say the peak is similar to what happened to fixed route transit service in the US (which is now well below one-fifth of its previous importance as described in see Chapter 9). Others claim it is a brief hiatus from the steady march of increasing per capita vehicle travel that followed the same drumbeat almost continuously from 1910 to 2000. Some call the recent patterns of vehicle travel ‘trendlets.’ Many attribute the decline to the pattern to the simultaneous tanking of the US economy; these are the same people who embrace the roaring comeback of total travel in 2014 and 2015, which in terms of total travel (though not per capita) is reaching new heights, due to low unemployment and low gas prices.

But what went largely unrealized was that travel began dropping before the economy tanked. These same people suggest per capita vehicle travel would pick up on its upward path based on the previous century—a forecast possibly reminiscent of the proverbial ostrich with its sand-encased head.

The book is accessible and wide-ranging, looking at everything from transit to road pricing to self-driving cars to bicycling. Check out the rest here.

 


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4 Responses to Chart of the Day: Climbing “Mount Auto”

  1. Adam Froehlig
    Adam Froehlig September 16, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    Is the book available in hard copy?

  2. David Levinson
    David Levinson September 17, 2015 at 5:43 am #

    Not yet.

  3. David Markle
    David Markle September 17, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Looks to be a major collection of information. Wish it were available in hard copy; I’m averse to reading book-length materials on screen.

    • Bill Lindeke
      Bill Lindeke September 17, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

      It’s very readable on a screen. I’d give it a shot!