Via Planetizen, here’s an informative chart about an oft-discussed topic here on streets.mn: annual vehicle miles travelled. The nice thing here is that it attempts to correlate VMT with other economic and demographic data:
Planetizen’s Steve Polzin has a few prescient takeaways:
Fuel prices and a soft economy were important contributors to slowing VMT in the past decade, but the body of evidence suggests that other factors were also contributors. The population is slightly more urban with lower travel levels, millennials are traveling less, and people are substituting communications for travel with growth in e-commerce, e-learning, telecommuting, and texting and messaging in lieu of some social travel. Thus, a stronger economy and lower fuel prices are likely to restore some but not all of the historic growth in travel demand.
Declines in travel over the past several years included disproportionate declines in non-urban travel and in freight travel. These components are significantly impacted by both economic activity and fuel prices. Both are subject to rebound with a stronger economy and moderating fuel prices.
Year-over-year comparisons of VMT have been on a general upward trend since 2008 and have been in positive territory the past three years. Transit ridership trends remain positive but the magnitude of year-over-year changes have been on a declining trend since 2011.
Based on a visual analysis of Figure 1, transit ridership has generally responded positively to labor force growth.